South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, right, and former South Korean Olympic figure skating champion Yuna Kim, light the cauldron with the Olympic Flame during the Olympic Flame Arrival ceremony at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. South Korea's Pyeongchang is the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympics which will be held from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25. | AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

Olympic flame arrives in South Korea for 2018 Winter Games
Kim Tong-Hyung (Associated Press) - November 1, 2017 - 4:00am

SEOUL, South Korea — The Olympic flame arrived in South Korea on Wednesday where it will be passed throughout the country by thousands of torchbearers on a 100-day journey to the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

South Korean figure skating prospect You Young will kick off the 2,018-kilometer (1,253-mile) trip from Incheon on Wednesday.

Pyeongchang's organizers have designated 7,500 torchbearers to carry the Olympic flame, which arrived at the Incheon International Airport after a handover ceremony in Athens on Tuesday. Retired Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yuna, who is one of the country's most popular sports personalities, joined South Korean Prime Minster Lee Nak-yon in igniting the flame to a ceremonial cauldron at the airport to mark the start of the Olympic torch relay.

The Olympic flame last touched the country 30 years ago when the 1988 Summer Olympics were held in the capital Seoul.

Preparations for the Feb. 9-25 games are being held amid tension over North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile tests. There are also concerns over the huge costs for hosting the games and maintaining facilities that may have little use once the party leaves town.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has urged the North to participate in next year's Olympics, said in a speech to lawmakers on Wednesday that the games are a "golden opportunity" to strengthen peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"Ensuring the success of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and Paralympics that are 100 days away is a national task," Moon said.

Although a North Korean figure skating pair has qualified for the Games, it's uncertain whether Pyongyang would allow the skaters to compete in Pyeongchang, a ski resort town just 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the heavily-armed inter-Korean border. North Korea boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea's capital Seoul and has ignored the South's proposals for dialogue in recent months as it accelerated its nuclear and missile development.

Through the relay routes, the Olympic flame will be carried in a specially designed torch, which will be guarded closely to ensure that the light doesn't go out. After passing through Incheon on Wednesday, the flame will be carried through the southern resort island of Jeju on Thursday and Friday before re-entering the mainland. It will pass through capital Seoul in January.

Organizers hope that the torch relay will generate excitement for the Games, which have failed to dominate conversation in a country experiencing political upheaval and distracted by the North Korean threats.

Philstar
Facebook
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with
Read and share the latest news
whenever and wherever you are.
Top Stories
Features the most relevant stories,
exclusive content, analyses and special reports.
As It Happens
Get bite-sized highlights and up-to-date
information as the news breaks.
Latest
View the most recent
stories of the day.
Log-in
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,
consectetur adipiscing elit.
Quisque justo est, auctor vel ullamcorper.
Log-in
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet,
consectetur adipiscing elit.
Quisque justo est, auctor vel ullamcorper.
How to follow As It Happens stories
STEP 1
Click the story in the As it Happens section.
How to follow As It Happens stories
STEP 2
Click "Follow Story" for updates on the news.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam eu metus vitae felis tincidunt finibus ut id sapien. Integer volutpat dui eu malesuada dignissim. Sed varius justo nulla, fringilla convallis sem porta sed.
How to follow Author
STEP 1
Click on the author's name in the article.
How to follow Author
STEP 2
Once you click on the author's name, you will be
brought to the Authors page. Click "Follow Author"
to stay updated on the author's works
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam eu metus vitae felis tincidunt finibus ut id sapien. Integer volutpat dui eu malesuada dignissim. Sed varius justo nulla, fringilla convallis sem porta sed.
How to follow Tags
STEP 1
Click on a tag in the article.
How to follow Tags
STEP 2
When you click on a tag, it will take you to the
dedicated tag page where you'll see the article
viewed, along with other stories with that tag.

Click the "follow tag" button to stay updated on
the topic.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam eu metus vitae felis tincidunt finibus ut id sapien. Integer volutpat dui eu malesuada dignissim. Sed varius justo nulla, fringilla convallis sem porta sed.