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The Winter Olympics: 2010 Relay

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The 2010 Winter Olympics
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The Winter Olympics are taking place this year in Vancouver, Canada. The Olympic Torch Relay is carrying the Torch from Greece to Vancouver.

The Relay this year runs for 100 days and covers 45,000 kilometers, arriving on the eastern coast of Canada and ending in the western coast city of Vancouver. Along the way, more than 1,000 communities will see torchbearers as they transport the flam to its final destination.

More than 12,000 people will have an opportunity to be official Olympic Torchbearers, carrying the Torch a kilometer or so before handing it on. Most of those Torchbearers have been selected through public programs.

The Torch began its route on October 30, 2009, in Olympia, Greece after an official ceremony, which involved traditional rituals and the blessing of the Torch by a woman representing the high priestesses who used to bless the ancient Olympic Games. Sunlight shining on a metal reflector ignited the Flame, and the Torch was lit. The mayor of Olympia spoke, and the ceremony was attended by many international officials, including Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee; John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Olympic Games; and Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia, the Canadian province that contains Vancouver.

The ceremony also involves the cutting of an olive branch, the symbol of peace under which the ancient Greeks came to the Olympic Games.

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