Greece has lined up enough sponsors to fully fund its leg of the Olympic torch relay in May despite the country’s financial crisis.
The relay will go through 40 towns and cities on a 1,800-mile journey before the flame is flown to Britain leading to the London Games, which begin July 27.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee did not say how much the Greek leg of the relay would cost, but said several international conglomerates have agreed to pay for the May 10-17 event. For previous torch relays, the government has normally helped pay for part of the cost.
They announced details Monday of the route, which will include most of the Greek mainland and the island of Crete. The flame lighting ceremony is in Ancient Olympia, in southern Greece, on May 10.
“Despite the fact that we have huge financial difficulties as a country … we won’t scale down on what we are going to do on Greek soil about the torch relay,» HOC head Spyros Capralos said. «It’s going all around the country … to remind all our fellow countrymen of the importance of the torch, the importance of the Olympic Games, that everything started from here.”
Greece is in its fifth year of recession and is being kept afloat by rescue loans from other eurozone countries. Last year, Greece was stripped of the 2013 Mediterranean Games over budget cuts – and the event was moved to Mersin, Turkey. [AP]