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For the first time, a woman will start the Olympic torch relay


OLYMPIA, GREECE - OCTOBER 23: High priestess passes the Olympic flame at the Temple of Hera during a dressed rehearsal of the lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame in ancient Olympia on October 23, 2017 in Olympia, Greece. The flame will be transported by torch relay to the Pyeongchang, South Korea, which will host the 2018 Winter Olympics.(Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Milos Bicanski

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — For the first time, a woman has been chosen to launch the torch relay for the Tokyo Games at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics in Greece.

Greece’s Olympic committee said Thursday it has picked Rio shooting gold medalist Anna Korakaki as the first torchbearer following the flame-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia on March 12.

The carefully-choreographed ceremony is led by an actress posing as an ancient Greek priestess who lights the flame using a a bowl-shaped mirror to focus the heat of the sun’s rays on her torch. She will then pass it on to Korakaki.

The torch relay will course through Greece for a week before the flame is handed over to Tokyo organizing officials at a ceremony in Athens. The last torchbearer in Greece will also be a woman — Greece’s Katerina Stefanidi who won the pole vault at Rio.

Greece’s national Olympic committee president Spyros Capralos said Korakaki’s selection was a “historic” moment.

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