Olympic torch arrives in Amsterdam
23 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Olympic flame arrived at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on a plane from Brussels on Wednesday morning as it makes a world tour in the lead up to the Athens Games in August.
A Dutch member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Anton Geesink, accepted the flame on a stairway platform raised up alongside the plane, dubbed Zeus, and said it was an historic moment: “The flame is where it should be; among the people”.
Together with Schiphol chief Gerlach Cerfontaine, the former judo champion descended with the Olympic torch and presented it to Amsterdam Sports Alderman Hester Maij.
City politicians were accompanied by the chairwoman of the Netherlands Olympic Committee – Netherlands Sport Confederation (NOC-NSF), Erica Terpstra.
The Olympic flame — which was earlierre-lit by the sun in the ancient Greek city Olympia — will visit all former Olympic cities during its world tour. The site of the 2008 Olympics, Beijing, is also included on the list.
Amsterdam staged the Olympic Games in 1928, where the tradition of lighting the flame in the marathon tower next to the stadium started, news agency ANP reported.
The flame will be re-ignited in the same place on Wednesday night and Olympic swimming champion Inge de Bruijn, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Geesink will perform the honours.
The flame is expected to be lit at about 7pm at the Olympic Stadium of the 1928 Amsterdam Games and will remain burning for about 30 minutes.
In the hours leading up to the event, a relay event will see 131 runners — including several Olympic champions — carry the torch through Amsterdam city streets. Large crowds are expected along the route, especially school children.
The flame was extinguished several times by the poor weather on Wednesday afternoon, but was re-lit by the original flame that was being carefully protected from the weather in a special container. The original flame must never be extinguished.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news