The Lighting of the Flame for the Special Olympics World Games will take place at the Sacred Site of Pnyx, opposite the Acropolis of Athens, in Greece on the 9th of June at 1100, presided over by the President of the Hellenic Republic and many officials. In keeping with the tradition, the rays of the sun light the Flame and the entire ceremony will take place along the lines of the original Torch Lighting of the Olympics Games.
Following the Flame Lighting Ceremony, the Final Leg Team will pass in front of the Acropolis, the Herodeios Theatre, the Museum of Acropolis, the Parliament and the Presidential Palace, where a Welcome Ceremony will take place. On Friday the 10th of June, the Torch Runners split into three teams and the journey of the Flame begins.
• Route 1 begins from Athens and will cross all of Eastern Greece and the islands of Sporades, passing through the border station of Kastanies to reach Constantinople (Istanbul) on the 20th of June. During the 10-day route on Greek soil, the Flame of Hope will visit over 47 cities where local authorities will hold welcoming ceremonies. In Constantinople (Istanbul), the cultural crossroad between Europe and Asia, the National Special Olympics Committee of Turkey will prepare a warm welcome for the Torch Runners, with routes through the most central parts of Constantinople (Taxim, Istiklal, Galata Bridge, Saint Sophia’s Church, the Blue Mosque, etc).
• Route 2 will cross all of Western Greece as far as the Tristate border, the Ionian Islands and Peloponnese, passing through Ancient Olympia, the birth city of the Olympic Games. Route 2 will visit 58 cities in 12 days.
• Route 3 team members will depart for Cyprus, an island bound to Greece through important historic and cultural ties. In Cyprus, the Torch Runners will spend 2 whole days spreading the message of the Games in many cities on the island (Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca, Nicossia) as guests of the National Special Olympics Committee of Cyprus. The team will then begin its route of the Greek Islands, via Athens. Over 10 days the Flame will visit more than 30 cities.
On the 21st of June, Route 3 will arrive in Rhodes, the island that from the 20th of June will host the largest number of athletes through the Host Town program.
On the 22nd of June, the Flame will pass in front of all the hotels accommodating athletes, destined for the city of Lindos where a Welcome Ceremony will take place.
On the afternoon of the 23rd of June, the Torch Runners will pass in front of the most important areas of the city (the Mayor’s office, the Old City, the Castle of the Knights) ending up at the Ancient Stadium where a welcome ceremony will take place in front of all the hosted Athletes as well as many Greek and foreign officials visiting Rhodes for this special event.
On the 24th of June, the entire Final Leg Team will be reunited back in Athens and will run in front of all the host centers for Athletes where Welcome Ceremonies will take place. At 18.30 the Flame will reach the Acropolis where it will remain overnight, in front of the Erechtheion with the honorary contingent of the Presidential Guard.
On the 25th of June, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the Torch Runners will visit the Mayor of Athens for a Welcome Ceremony in front of the Mayor’s office attended by the Mayor and the Town Council members. Passing through the main streets of Athens, the Flame will finally reach the Kallimarmaron Panathenaikon Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Games.