ATHENS – President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou’s message for the handover of the Olympic Flame to Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Games contained references to the coronavirus affecting the entire planet and the collaboration of nations for its containment.
The president underlined that the Olympic Flame, the connecting ring between the ancient and the modern games, has completed its journey within the country, Greece, where it was lit for the first time. However, she added, its trip to far away Japan was taking place in adverse conditions at a very critical moment in the history of the games.
“An unprecedented pandemic is testing societies over the entire planet. The handover ceremony, even without the presence of numerous athletes and Olympic champions and without the public that wished to be at the Stadium to watch it, has a strong symbolism,” she said.
She also noted that the Olympic Games are not only a meeting of athletes from all over the world but an expression of humanity’s continuous effort to surpass itself. It is the living expression of the cooperation of nations, of understanding and goodwill, of concord and brotherhood. These are the values that inspired the fair play of ancient Greece and those that can and should today become our weapon against the common enemy. With these we will fight and win,” she added.
She also thanked the Greek Olympic Committee for helping to instill the Olympic spirit in Greek society and, after noting that Ancient Olympia is lighting the way to Tokyo, she said that “all Greeks wish the Japanese organisers every success [in their efforts].”