Greece's Olympic Peace Committee announced its decision on April 26 to boycott the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony at ancient Olympia.
SV Olympic Peace Committee seated
SCU Mayor of Olympia Spyros Fotinos speaks about the decision to ban the traditional lighting ceremony at Zeus Temple (GREEK SOT)
SV PAN TO CU Professor Alkis Argyriades speaking on Greece's unhappiness with alleged US commercialisation of the lighting ceremony (ENGLISH SOT)
SV Committee seated
TRANSCRIPT (SEQUENCE THREE): PROFESSOR ALKIS ARGYRIADES, ATHENS UNIVERSITY DEAN: "We all, the Mayor of Olympia and the Olympic Peace and Culture Committee, gathered here to discuss the created situation after thee commercialisation of thee Olympic Flame Torch Relay by the Los Angeles Olympic Organising Committee, which is against the Olympic spirit and to Greek tradition in general. Greek people oppose this situation, and we understand that both the Greek Sport Association and the Greek Olympic Committee decided not to participate in the traditional lighting of the flame ceremony at ancient Olympia."
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Background: Greece's Olympic Peace Committee announced its decision on April 26 to boycott the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony at ancient Olympia. The tradition of lighting a flame at Olympia, birthplace of the Olympia, has been maintained since the 1963 Berlin Game.s The Committee also explained that planned 800-kilometre (500-mile) relay of the flame from Olympia to Athens was also dropped because of "lack of cooperation" from Greek sports officials. The flame controversy first flared about four months ago, when the Games' Los Angeles Organising Committee decided to allow commercial sponsorship of the torch relay across the United States to raise money for charity. Groups in Greece accused the committee of commercial exploitation of the Olympic tradition. Local officials at Olympia, including Mayor Spyros Fotinos, launched an unsuccessful campaign to stop the sponsorship plan. But despite the boycott the Olympic flame will burn at the Los Angeles Games. The General Secretariat of Sports said in Athens on April 27 that the flame would be delivered to organisers in Olympia, adding that it had informed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the Greek Government would ensure the lighting and delivery of the flame at Olympia. The IOC is to send a representative to take possession of the torch on May 3.