New Delhi: The Olympic flame for the XXVIII (28th) Olympic Games in Athens, Greece is expected to arrive in New Delhi on June 10, 2004.
The Athens 2004 organising committee for the Olympics and relay sponsor, Coca-Cola, say that for the first time since the summer games were revived in 1896, the capital of India has been included among the 34 cities of the world that will host the historic, global Olympic flame relay.
The worldwide route has been designed to retrace the path of the modern Olympic games which began in 1896. In early June this year, the Olympic flame will embark on a 21st-century-style tour that will circle the world and include every city that has hosted the summer Olympic games, plus Beijing (hosts for the 2008 Olympics).
However, New Delhi, which has never hosted Olympic games, has also been included among all former summer games sites for the upcoming 'Athens 2004 Olympic torch relay.' for the first time ever, the event will bring the Olympic flame to Africa and South America and will include all five continents represented by the Olympic rings.
The theme established by the Athens organising committee for the "Athens 2004 Olympic torch relay" is, "pass the flame, unite the world." The flame will travel from city to city by plane. Within each city, the traditional Olympic torch relay on foot will be conducted for one day.
The other cities through which the flame will pass are Brussels, Belgium, Cairo, Egypt; Cape Town, South Africa, Geneva and Lausanne, Switzerland, Istanbul, Turkey, Kiev, Ukraine, New York, USA, Nicosia, Cyprus, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Sofia, Bulgaria.
Samsung Korea and Coca-Cola Co are sponsoring the torch relay this year. Coca Cola Co, which with 75 years has, perhaps, the longest association with the Olympics and the torch relay is selecting many of the estimated 10,000 torchbearers and 2,000 escort runners who will shepherd the Olympic flame on its historic, round-the-world journey.
The final number of torch bearers for each of the cities and their names will be announced closer to the Olympic flame's arrival in Delhi.
In India Coca-Cola India has launched its Olympic torch bearer nomination program to select 42 torchbearers and 7 escort runners who will proudly represent their country in what some are calling-the first truly global relay of the Olympic flame on June 10, 2004.
These programmes include an essay competition for school students, a radio phone-in nomination programme and key account activation in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Sanjiv Gupta, president & CEO, Coca-Cola India said, "We are overjoyed about providing people in India the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being part of the first truly global Olympic torch
relay. This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to share in the magic of the Olympic Games and show what the Olympic spirit means to India."
Coca-Cola India's programs for selecting the torchbearers are designed around the theme of 'recognize inspiration' and the company is looking for candidates to be torchbearers who are an inspiration to those around them.
Students will thus be encouraged to write essays on the personality who has inspired them the most. Nomination forms, available at locations like McDonald's, Food World and Dominoes, can be filled in by customers to nominate a person who inspires them, while for radio activation listeners can call in FM radio stations like Radio Mirchi and do likewise. The nominations will be screened by a panel of judges and the lucky few will be invited to New Delhi by Coca-Cola to participate in the event.
All torchbearers will carry an Olympic torch and will pass the flame from torch-to-torch at designated exchange points along the route in each city. Each torchbearer will carry the flame approximately 300-to-500 meters and will be accompanied by an escort. The escort runners, many of whom will also be selected by Coca-Cola, provide assistance to torchbearers, if needed, and help keep the pace of the relay on schedule. Each escort runner will travel with the Olympic flame for approximately 2,000 meters.
The 1928 Olympic games, which included 46 nations, marked the beginning of Coca-Cola Company's involvement with the Olympics. This was also the first time that the Olympics were open to women in track and field events. At this time, the tradition of lighting an Olympic flame at the games was revived from ancient times.
The modern Olympic torch relay made its debut in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games with the Olympic flame being delivered from Olympia, Greece to Germany.
The Olympic flame will be lit with the sun's rays in the ancient Greek city of Olympia, as per tradition. After the flame is lit, it will spend a short period in Greece and then travel the world for 35 days, visiting 34 cities in 26 countries before returning to Greece for the final segments of the torch relay.
In addition to being carried by torchbearers, the flame will travel via automobile, airplane, train, ship, bicycle, camel and other modes of transportation.On August 13, 2004, the flame's journey will culminate with the lighting of the cauldron at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, commencing the XXVIII Olympiad.