President's welcome message

Address by the President Spyros Capralos at the Handover Ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games “PYEONGCHANG 2018”:

I am very happy to welcome you at the Panathenaic Stadium, the place where in antiquity the Panathenian and other important Games were staged. This is the Stadium were the modern Olympic Games of 1896 were revived and where sports of the Olympic Games of 2004 were held.
This very historic stadium is welcoming the Sacred Light of Olympism, following a seven-day journey, of more than 2.000 kilometres around Greece.
I am very moved with all that we have experienced during the last days, from the Lighting of the Flame in Ancient Olympia, until it reached this very place, Athens, the capital of Greece.
We witnessed the birth of the Olympic light at a touching ceremony at the place where the top sport, social and cultural event started in 776 BC, which turned into the strongest expression of friendship and fair play among the peoples of the whole world.
We then witnessed the flame starting its long journey in our country, hand to hand, conveying the eternal messages of peace and fraternity.
Now, the time has come for this journey in our country to come to an end, an in ideal closing here, at the Panathenaic stadium, the stadium connecting the ancient with the modern Olympic Games.
The Flame which will be handed over in a few minutes to the delegation of PyeongChang, is a strong symbol of tradition and values governing the Olympic Movement. It is a beacon for the Olympic values. It is the symbol of universal peace.
In recognition of these values, the United Nations issued a unanimous resolution inviting the Nations to create a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic Ideal. This decision is very to the point nowadays and we all hope that the torchbearers who will be carrying the Flame in Korea, will pass the message that sport can promote peace and make our world better.
Dear friends from Korea,
We are handing over, today, the Olympic Flame, so that you carry it to your distant but most beautiful country and so that it keeps sending the messages of peace, friendship and fraternity throughout its journey.
I join my voice together with the voice of all Greeks, and we all wish you our very best for the Winter Olympic Games of PyeongChang. I am sure that with your long tradition, your faith to the values and your love for sport, you will stage excellent games next February!

Spyros Ι. Capralos

President of Hellenic Olympic Committee