Torch Tour: from La Plata to the rest or Argentina
Buenos Aires, August 5. With just 62 days to go before Buenos Aires 2018, the youth Olympic flame began its trip with a stop in La Plata, marking the official start of the Torch Tour that will light up the whole country until the opening ceremony on October 6 at the Obelisk in Buenos Aires.
Under the slogan #UnitedByTheFlame, the sacred fire began its two-month journey through Argentina that will cover 14,000 kilometres and 17 cities. The capital of Buenos Aires province was the starting point in a sun-filled afternoon complete with sport activities and musical performances.
The one kilometre relay began in the Plaza Almirante Brown and finished at the Plaza Moreno. The torch passed between 14 relay runners. Laura Maiztegui, a field hockey player on Argentina’s Las Leonas team from 2000 to 2003 and Olympic gold medallist at Sydney 2000, was the first to carry the torch in La Plata.
She was followed by other Argentine athletes: equestrian Justo Albarracin (two Olympic appearances), basketball player Juan Aude (from Argentina’s hearing impaired team), rugby player Lucio Cinti (competing at Buenos Aires 2018), Basque pelota player Maria Lis Garcia (gold medallist at the 2011 Pan American Games) and tennis player Lucas Melia (gold medallist at the Parapan American Games 2017), and Agustin Carrera (110-metre hurdles champion).
Ramon Tajes (from the Fundación Baccigalupo), German Amenta (resident of Buenos Aires contest winner), Agustina Boyezuk (Young Community Leaders programme) and Carlos Ferrea (general director of the Argentine Olympic Committee) also participated in the event, alongside two Committee staff members, Romina Bonaduce, and Francisco Laphitzondo.
Federico Gil, an Olympic shooting representative at Rio 2016, was in charge of lighting the cauldron at the first stop on the Torch Tour. Gil will participate at the Youth Olympic Games as an Athlete Role Model.
Hundreds of La Plata residents enjoyed the event and danced to music from Los Totora, the last band to climb the stage in front of the city’s cathedral. Another celebratory moment was when #Pandi made an appearance. The Olympic values of respect, friendship and excellence reached everyone involved in the festivities.
The sacred flame was lit on July 24 in a moving ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece. The flame was then transported in two lanterns by plane to arrive at Argentina’s international airport a day later. On July 27 it was officially welcomed during an act at the Youth Olympic Park, the heart of the competitions for Buenos Aires 2018.
After the stop in La Plata, the flame will visit Mar del Plata on Monday, and on Tuesday it will be in Rosario before continuing the relay in Paraná on Wednesday. It will then make its way to Santa Fe, Puerto Iguazú, Corrientes, Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán, Catamarca, La Rioja, Mendoza, San Juan, Córdoba, Neuquén, Bariloche, Ushuaia and Buenos Aires. The journey has only just begun…