The iconic Olympic Torch Relay arrives today in Brazil ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The Olympic torch has graced some memorable locations in its decorated history, including a trip into space during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Relay. This year is no different, with the Brazilian landscape offering up a host of diverse locations for the torch to visit.
Among the highlights will be a stop in Fenando de Nornonha – a breath-taking archipelago of 21 islands to the north of the country, Iguazu Falls – a magnificent waterfall that runs across the border of Argentina and Brazil, and the country’s capital; Brasilia, where the nephew of the late Brazilian Formula One champion Ayrton Senna will carry the flame through his home town.
Coca-Cola is the longest continuous supporter of the Olympic movement, with a heritage dating back to 1928. The company has been involved with the Olympic Torch Relay since 1992 and over the last two decades, Coca-Cola has taken the Olympic flame to over 42 countries, inspiring people from all walks of life along its way.
As a proud partner of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Coca-Cola will accompany the Olympic flame on its 95-day journey through Brazil. Along the way, the flame will be carried by 12,000 people, visiting 320 cities, covering 20,000km on land, and over 16,000km by air. The flame will reach the most remote and diverse corners of Brazil.
Brand ambassadors will travel with the Olympic torch on a specially designed caravan, handing out limited-edition gold Coca-Cola mini packs to supporters of the relay.
Along the journey, there will be 83 city celebrations, among them, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Florianopolis, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Each stop will inspire Brazilians to bring out the Olympian in themselves and celebrate the diverse culture that makes this country so special.
Olympic Torch Relay Director, Isabel Salvador said, “We will shortly be leaving for an amazing adventure across the whole of Brazil, visiting the most beautiful places and telling inspiring Brazilian stories along the way. We will be driving awareness of our mini packs, sampling 1.3m of them on the route. From start to finish, we´ll be engaging with millions of teenagers, encouraging them to take a ride with the torch and Coca-Cola. #thatsgold #issoeouro”.
The Olympic torch is steeped in history and continues to inspire those who carry it. A panel of NGOs, athletes and stars, each hand-picked by Coca-Cola, were tasked with selecting 2,400 torchbearers from over 20,000 applicants. Torchbearers are chosen based upon the inspiring work they have done in their communities, for embracing positive lifestyles and for the spirit with which they bring people together. The inspirational young people selected for the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay include:
Paola Antonini, Betim: Model Paola Antonini is gold for her resistance: After a car accident on New Year's Eve in 2014, Paola had her left leg amputated and was facing a future filled with challenges. After months of learning how to walk again, she has since adapted to a prosthetic leg and refuses to waste any time. Paola has embraced her hardship by transforming it into a force for good. A keen dancer, she refuses to hide her leg and is living proof that the greatest strength is inside herself.
Verônica Hipolito, São José dos Campos: Brazilian Paralympic Revelation Verônica Hipólito discovered that she had a brain tumor at just12 years of age. She recovered following invasive surgery. But soon after, at just 15 years of age, Verônica suffered a stroke that left her with a slight paralysis on the right side of her body. Before her stroke, Verônica was always playing sports and making jokes, but she hasn’t let her paralysis stop her. She simply found a new way to express herself, and, with the help of her coach, began practicing Paralympic athletics. At the age of 19, Verônica took home a Gold (200m) and a Silver (100m) in the Paralympic World Championships in 2013.
These are just a couple of the incredible torchbearer stories Coca-Cola has to share. The company hopes to help make the Rio 2016 Olympic Games an incredible experience for everyone, by inspiring people to find gold beyond the podium.