Ignite the Flame of Hope for the XIII Special Olympics World Summer Games.

The Sacred Rock Pnyx was the flame lighting ceremony of Special Olympics 2011, 19 days before the opening ceremony of the games. The Flame of Hope was lit in the presence of high guests from Greece and abroad.

The Greek gymnast gymnastics the Special Olympics and high priestess, Iliana Symeonidou, handed the flame to the Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Games «Special Olympics 2011», which in turn gave it to the first torchbearer, George Papadopoulos and Agriculture Gerakaris.

The present at the ceremony gave Gianna Despotopoulou, chairman of Special Olympics Hellas, Telemachus Foundries, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chris Nightingale, Secretary of Health and Social Solidarity, Thanassis Papaioannou, spokesman for Speaker of the Greek Philippos Petsalnikos , George Kaminis, Mayor of Athens and Timothy Sraiver Kennedy, president of the National Committee of Special Olympics.

Ms Despotopoulou in her speech said the World Games of Special Olympics is a celebration of sport, culture and humanity.On his part, Mr. Chytiris said “In these difficult economic conditions for the country prove that we can cope with the obligations thus undertaken towards the international community.” “We stand in admiration toward those of athletes,” said Kaminis while Mr. Sraiver after repeating several times the phrase “I’m in,” urged the world to open their eyes forever to see the flame of hope.

The trip started the flame from Athens to the runner passes the Acropolis, the Theatre Irodoy Atticus, the Acropolis Museum, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Greek Parliament and leading to Zappeion. On the morning of June 10, the Torchbearer will be divided into three groups and the journey of the Flame of Hope will begin.

The first group will head north and end up in Istanbul, after having gone through 40 cities. There will welcome the flame in the lighthouse, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

The second group is directed towards the West will go from Ancient Olympia and will end at the borders of the country. At the end of the journey will visit 64 cities.

Finally, the third group will arrive in Cyprus, where he will stay two days before departure to Rhodes. Together, they will go through 30 different cities.

On June 24, all teams will join Torch Relay in Athens and will run ahead of the centers for athletes, which will take place in various events. At 18:30 the Flame of Hope will arrive at the Acropolis, where they will spend the night in front of the Erechtheion, honorably guarded by the Presidential Guard.

On June 25, the day of the Opening Ceremony, the Torchbearer will pass the Town Hall, where they will welcome the Mayor of Athens and then, after crossing the central parts of the city, will result in Marble Panathenaic Stadium, where the torch will light thealtar officially marking the start of World Summer Games Special Olympics 2011.

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