Greek Anna Korakaki will be first woman to start Olympic Torch Relay

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Greek shooting world champion and European Games gold medallist Anna Korakaki will make history becoming the first woman ever to launch the Olympic Torch Relay.

Korakaki will attend the traditional flame-lighting ceremony for Tokyo 2020 in Ancient Olympia on 12 March 2020. After the lighting of the flame by High Priestess Xanthi Georgiou, the Rio 2016 double-medallist will serve as first torchbearer.

“It’s a great honor for me,” Korakaki said. “I am thrilled, and I think the feelings will get even more intense in Ancient Olympia. I am looking forward to experiencing that moment and I’m sure it will remain etched in my mind and heart for the rest of my life.”

The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) chose the 23-year-old athlete to do the honours. Her gold medal in the 25-meter air pistol shooting at the 2nd European Games Minsk 2019 last summer added to the two Olympic medals at Rio 2016.

“It is a historic moment, as for the first time in history a female athlete will be the first torchbearer,” said Spyros Capralos, HOC president, Member of the IOC and the EOC Executive Committee.

“I believe that Anna Korakaki has honoured the Greek flag and our country, and she deserves it, not only for the two medals at the Rio Olympics, but also for her successes after 2016.”

After the flame-lighting ceremony in Olympia, where the original games were held, the torch will travel around Greece for eight days before being passed onto the Tokyo 2020 team in a handover ceremony at Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.

Another Greek athlete, pole vault gold medallist Ekaterina Stefanidi, will be the last to carry the Olympic flame at the Panathenaic Stadium on 19 March 2020. The torch will then travel from Greece to Japan.