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Rome welcomes the Olympic torch relay

8 December 2005

On day one of the Torino 2006 Olympic Torch Relay, the Olympic flame has been travelling around the city of Rome.

In two days’ time, the Olympic flame will continue its journey by travelling to the town of Rieti. The XX Olympic Winter Games – Torino 2006 are 64 days away.

The Journey Begins
The Olympic flame was sent off on its 64-day journey this morning by IOC President Jacques Rogge and Italy’s President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, at a ceremony held at the Palazzo Del Quirinale (the residence of Italy’s Head of State).

After some short speeches, President Ciampi lit the flame for the first torchbearer, the Italian marathon gold medallist at the Athens Games, Stefano Baldini, thereby starting the Olympic flame on its journey around Italy to Torino, where the XX Olympic Winter Games will begin on 10 February 2006.

The flame was also carried today by Olympic great Franz Klammer.

A Thread Of Passion
Referring to the emotion of the Torino 2006 Olympic Torch Relay, President Rogge said in his speech at the Quirinale, “It is a thread of passion which will run through this country”.

The President also spoke of the power that the Olympic flame has to unite people: “Whether male or female, young or old, able-bodied or disabled, high-level athlete or amateur, whether we live in a wealthy or a developing country, the flame unites us all.”

Torino 2006 Olympic Torch Relay
The Torino 2006 Olympic Torch Relay began today in Rome and will tour the length and breadth of Italy for 64 days. It will cover a total distance of 11,300 km, visiting 140 cities, 107 provinces and all of Italy’s regions, as well as the neighbouring countries of San Marino, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland and France. There will be 10,001 torchbearers, who will carry the flame to Torinon, where it will arrive on 10 February 2006.


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