Korakaki, a torchbearer who is now part of history

12 March 2020: First torch bearer Anna Korakaki receives the flame at the Olympic Torch lighting ceremony in Olimpia, Greece
12 March 2020: First torch bearer Anna Korakaki receives the flame at the Olympic Torch lighting ceremony in Olimpia, Greece

At the Olympic Flame Lighting Ceremony, which took place in Ancient Olympia on 12 March, the very first torchbearer was Anna Korakaki, Greece’s Rio 2016 Olympic shooting gold medallist.

“It is so hard to describe all my feelings, I cannot be so precise, I don’t have the words, because it was very emotional moment for me. It gives me the chance to thank the National Olympic Committee again for having chosen me. It was a great honour for me, an unforgettable experience, a moment I will remember for ever”, she told Tokyo2020.org.

Significantly, she became the first female to start an Olympic Torch Relay, before passing the flame to MIZUKI Noguchi on the journey to Japan and the start of the Tokyo 2020 Games. It was a historical moment, which she considers to be another step towards improving gender equality.

It was a great honour for me, an unforgettable experience, a moment I will remember for ever

“It is something changing, we see that every day in sport. Actually in my own sport, shooting, we have a new Olympic discipline you will see in Tokyo, the mixed team event, where a pair with one man and one woman from the same country shoot and compete together. The result is a combination of their shots.”, she explains.

Now the Torch Relay has begun and around 10,000 torchbearers will carry the flame across Japan over the coming months. Each one of them will certainly feel as lucky as Korakaki, still overwhelmed by her emotions. “It is a lot, it is something I will never forget and I feel very privileged and blessed to have been part of this event”, she concludes with a smile.