By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Olympic flame has arrived in Brazil today (May 3rd) as Carlos Arthur Nuzman, President of the Rio 2016 organizing committee, stepped off a plane carrying the torch in Brasília early this morning. It will now begin a 95-day tour that will culminate with its arrival at Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games on August 5th.
The journey of the flame began in Olympia, Greece, on April 21st, where it was lit at a traditional ceremony at the Temple of Hera. From there, the torch traveled across Greece to the UN headquarters in Geneva and the IOC Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, before leaving for Brazil.
Brazil’s President Rouseff was on hand at the Salão Nobre do Palácio do Planalto (Planalto presidential palace) to welcome the flame ahead of the cross-country torch relay, where over 12,000 torchbearers will each run two kilometers, carrying the torch across three hundred towns.
“Brazil is now the country of the Games. We will remember this day and it will go down in history,” President Rousseff said, before using the flame to light the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch.
The first torchbearer in the relay is Fabiana Claudino, a two-time Olympic champion (2008 and 2012) and current captain of the Brazilian Olympic volleyball team.
Claudino will then pass the torch to Brazilian mathematician Artur Avila Cordeiro de Melo, the first researcher in Latin America to win the Nobel Prize for Mathematics.
Among the remaining first ten torchbearers are world surfing champion Gabriel Medina, 12-year-old Syrian refugee, Hanan Khaled Daqqah, and the only Brazilian woman to have won an Olympic medal in boxing, Adriana Araújo.