Christ the Redeemer

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 5 (IANS) The Olympic flame on Friday arrived at the feet of this metropolis’s Christ the Redeemer statue, which is located at the peak of Corcovado mountain and was recently designated as one of the new seven wonders of the world.

At dawn, Rio’s archbishop, Cardinal Orani João Tempesta, took the flame in a metal case up the mountain, where Brazilian beach volleyball player Maria Isabel Barroso Salgado lit the torch, reports Efe.

Dozens of camera crews and photographers on hand for the ancient pagan ceremony were able to capture images of Rio as an orange-hued sunrise illuminated the sky.

“We’re now experiencing the 100 days of peace that form part of the Olympic truce, and nothing better than this beautiful view of Rio de Janeiro to start the day,” the archbishop said, later praying an Our Father and issuing a call for “peace and fraternity.”

The final stop for the torch will be at the likewise emblematic Maracana Stadium, the venue for the first-ever Summer Olympics opening ceremony in South America.

The show will feature supermodel Gisele Bundchen parading to the rhythms of “Garota de Ipanema” (The Girl from Ipanema), the song that Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes co-wrote at the Veloso bar-cafe in the heart of Rio’s Ipanema neighborhood.

Brazilian music will dominate the festivity with performances by Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Paulinho da Viola, and nature, one of Brazil’s great treasures, also will play a key role.

Samba dancing will also be showcased, while athletes will be given seeds of trees native to their countries for planting at the Deodoro Olympic Park.

As always, the final torch bearer at the Rio Games opening ceremony remains shrouded in mystery, although bets are on soccer legend Pele, the biggest sports figure in Brazilian history.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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