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Greece portion of Olympic Torch Relay suspended

OLY-2020-JPN-GREECE-FLAME

US actor Gerard Butler holds the Olympic flame during the Olympic flame relay in Sparta on March 13, 2020 ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Photo by Valerie Gache / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE GACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

The Olympic Torch Relay’s Greece portion was canceled on the second day of its eight-day trek through the nation due to the coronavirus, Greece’s Olympic Committee confirmed Friday.

The Olympic Flame, lit in the Ancient Olympic site of Olympia on Thursday, was carried by, among others, actor Gerard Butler in Sparta on Friday before the suspension. Butler starred as Spartan King Leonidas in the 2006 film “300.”

An unexpectedly large crowd attendance in Sparta despite recommendations to the public not to focus on the ceremony led to the decision to cancel the rest of the program, according to a translation of a Greek statement. The Greek Olympic Committee later confirmed the cancellation in an email in English.

The delivery of the Olympic Flame to Tokyo 2020 next Thursday will take place without spectators at the 1896 Olympic Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, according to the Greek statement.

The International Olympic Committee reiterated its “full commitment” to the Tokyo Olympics after the Greek leg of the torch relay was canceled.

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