The Olympic flame arrived Tuesday in Brazil, to begin a torch relay across the first South American country to host an Olympic Games. Brazil’s embattled president, Dilma Rousseff, lit the torch.
CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio.
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For a moment, Brazil set its troubles aside. In Brasilia, the capital and epicenter of Brazil’s political dramas, the president of the Rio 2016 organizing committee presented the flame.
“We are ready, the Olympic torch has arrived, and today I call on all Brazilians to celebrate sport, youth and competition,” Carlos Nuzman, President Rio 2016 Organizing Committee said.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff lit the torch in what could be one of her last major public appearances.
Rousseff faces a possible impeachment trial on charges that she broke the law by concealing budget shortfalls.
If the Senate votes for a trial, Rousseff could be out of office for up to six months during the proceedings. She vowed not to let her troubles disrupt the games.
“Brazil will be capable, even going through this difficult and truly critical period in the history and the history of democracy of our country. We know how to get along, because we have laid out all the conditions for that,” Rousseff said.
And so the torch began its long journey across Brazil. The first torch bearer was Brazilian Fabiana Claudino, a double Olympic volleyball gold medalist.
Followed by Artur Avila, the first Brazilian to win the Fields Medal-sometimes called the Nobel Prize of Mathematics.
Around 12,000 torch bearers will carry the flame across Brazil’s 26 states, passing through more than 300 cities and towns-a total of 20,000 kilometers (12,427 miles) by road and 16,000 (9,941 miles) by air.
Its final destination is Rio’s Maracana Stadium on August 5th.
Olympic organizers say the torch’s journey will take it on roads where around 90 percent of Brazil’s 200 million people will be able to see it.
A few hundred protesters gathered on the relay route during the torch relay both in support of and against Rousseff.
Story by the Associated Press