Actress Katerina Lehou playing the role of high priestess lights an Olympic torch during the handover ceremony for the Olympic Flame at Panathenaic stadium in Athens, on Oct. 31, 2017. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
The Flame burning for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics was handed over on Tuesday to the South Korean organizers in a touching ceremony held at the Panathenaic stadium in Athens on Tuesday.
At the marble venue of the first modern Olympics in 1896, Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos passed the Sacred Flame to the President of the PyeongChang Games Organizing Committee Lee Hee-Beom.
The South Korean delegation left the stadium under the applause of thousands of Greek schoolchildren who attended the event along dignitaries.
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, international Olympic movement representatives, and Olympic medalists were among the crowd that sent off the Flame with the warmest wishes for best success to the February 9-25 Games.
It was the end of the first leg of the Torch Relay on Greek soil, which had started on October 24 at ancient Olympia when the Sacred Light was ignited by the sun's rays during a ritual ceremony at the birthplace of the Olympics.
The second leg of the Relay across South Korea will cover 2,018 kilometers before reaching the main venue for the opening ceremony of the Games. A total of 2,900 athletes from 95 countries and regions will participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, according to organizers.