Apollo to do his bit tomorrow

Under intense security and in the presence of top Greek and International Olympic Committee officials, the flame for the Athens Games will be lit tomorrow at the ancient site of Olympia. The ceremony, in which young women, dressed as ancient priestesses, pretend to pray to Apollo, the ancient Greek god of light, will be held at noon. The dignitaries present are to include President Costis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, IOC president Jacques Rogge and Athens 2004 organizing committee chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. Immediately afterward, the top Greek officials will be flown back to Athens to attend the Independence Day military parade. Access to the site will not be allowed by car but buses will be laid on to take visitors to the site from the outskirts of the modern village of Olympia. The gates of the archaeological site will close to the public at 11.45 a.m. From Olympia, the flame will be carried through the Peloponnese and the Saronic Islands, reaching Athens on March 31. From there, it will travel to 27 countries.

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