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  • Olympic Flame Visit Shows 'Solidarity' of Olympic Movement


    (ATR) IOC President Thomas Bach says having the Olympic Flame visit Lausanne sends a message of “solidarity, hope, and peace,” to Brazil and the rest of the world.

    Rio 2016 chief Carlos Nuzman and IOC pres. Thomas Bach share the torch at the Olympic Museum. (ATR)
    After touring the United Nations the morning of April 29, the flame traveled to Lausanne, the home of the IOC in the afternoon. In Lausanne, the flame was received by IOC President Thomas Bach and Rio 2016 Carlos Nuzman in a ceremony at the Olympic Museum.

    Swiss rower Barnabé Delarze along with seven other rowers from the Lausanne Sport Aviron club rowed the flame on Lake Geneva to outside the Olympic Museum. Delarze then carried the flame up to the museum where Bach and Nuzman jointly lit the Rio 2016 cauldron with the flame.

    Bach and Nuzman were joined by Mayor of Lausanne Daniel Brélaz and state counselor from the Canton of Vaud Philippe Leuba in welcoming the Flame to the Olympic Museum.

    Around the Rings learned that it is unlikely that regular trips to the Olympic capital will be part of future torch relays. While it is not unprecedented for Olympic organizers to schedule international legs with the Olympic Flame, this trip was made possible thanks to logistical needs for Rio and careful planning.

    The torch relay has visited Lausanne twice before, in 2004 and 1948.

    “It was a clear demonstration of the appreciation and close links of the IOC enjoying with the Brazilian people,” Bach said to reporters after the ceremony. “I think this shows that this Olympic flame sends a message of solidarity, a message of hope, and a message of peace not just to the Brazilian people but to the whole world.”

    Thomas Bach addresses the crowd after the Rio 2016 cauldron is lit. (ATR)
    Bach also stressed the deliberate choice of rowing to bring the Olympic Flame to the ceremony in his speech. He said that the founder of the IOC Baron Pierre de Coubertin used to row on Lake Geneva, not far from where the ceremony was taking place.

    “The Olympic flame coming to Lausanne is a sign, a symbolic return to the city chosen to host the IOC.” Bach said. “He would certainly be impressed by the incredible reception of Brazilians who welcomed the arrival of the flame. What you have seen is only a glimpse of the enthusiasm with which the Brazilians welcome the world in August.”

    Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman told ATR he believed the relay “shows how strong Brazil is,” even in a moment of economic and political crisis.

    “The ceremony means that it’s a new moment and we are on the last lap for the Games,” Nuzman added.

    Both President Bach and Nuzman acknowledged that Rio de Janeiro still has a long way to go in completing preparations from the Games. Bach urged organizers to not let the good feelings from the flame ceremony distract from the many little preparations remaining the Olympic city.

    “The last stretch of preparations is always the most demanding moment,” Bach told reporters. “We have confidence in our Brazilian friends that they know there is still a lot to do, and we are standing side by side with them to accomplish the last challenges that still remain.”

    Written by Aaron Bauer in Lausanne.

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