The Olympic flame travels from Santorini to the Acropolis. HOC

From the Acropolis, Greece's most emblematic monument, the Olympic flame sends its timeless messages of peace and truce to the entire planet. The altar was lit by Olympic athlete Periklis Iakovakis, who received the light in the Propylaea from swimming champion Andreas Vazaios, as reported the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC).

Periklis Iakovakis spoke of the special moment. "This is unique. The beauty of the Acropolis is incredible and the combination of the Olympic flame and the privilege of lighting the altar is unique. I am very happy and I would like to thank those who elected me. I wish the French every success in organising the Olympic Games and also succedd for the Greek athletes." 

"The importance of the Olympic Games and their message are timely because we all see that there is tension and war in our neighbourhood and I hope that something of the greatness of the Olympic Games will reach there too, that maybe a solution will be found and all this will stop," added the bronze medallist in the 400m hurdles at the 2003 World Athletics Championships in Paris. 

The torch relay to the Acropolis was accompanied by the choreographer of the Olympic flame ceremonies, Artemis Ignatiou, and six-time Olympian Agi Kasoumi. The fourth day of the Olympic torch relay began in Santorini, where the flame was transported by an air force plane, the ceremony took place in Fira and the Olympic light passed through the picturesque streets of the island.

The next stop was Naxos, where the altar in the harbour was lit by Deputy Sports Minister Yannis Vroutsis, with Olympic champion Olga Vasdeki among the torchbearers. Then on to Paros, where the altar in Parikia was lit by canoeing and kayaking champion Christos Tsakmakis in front of a large crowd of locals who gave the flame a rousing welcome. 

Former 400m hurdler Periklis Iakovakis lights the Olympic torch. HOC
Former 400m hurdler Periklis Iakovakis lights the Olympic torch. HOC

It was also an excellent idea that while waiting for the arrival of the Olympic flame, the children of Paros from the clubs AO Paros, NO Paros, AMES Nireas, Marpisaikos and others practised their favourite sports, such as sailing, beach soccer, beach handball, basketball, table tennis, horse riding and classical sports, providing a perfect backdrop for the arrival of the Olympic symbol. 

The President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos accompanied the Olympic flame and addressed the people of Paros. "Thank you for the great welcome. This is a great joy for us, as well as for the children we saw in the streets, playing sports and waiting for the flame to take part in this celebration, which is returning to the island after 20 years and 2004," he said. 

The Olympic Games were born in this country, 2,800 years ago, and it is the greatest sporting and social event that unites the 206 countries in a peaceful gathering," he concluded.