AFP BRASILIA (AFP-Jiji) — Embattled President Dilma Rousseff greeted the Olympic flame in Brazil on Tuesday, promising not to allow a raging political crisis, which could see her suspended within days, to spoil the Rio Games.
Rousseff promised “the most successful Olympic Games in history.”
“We are experiencing political instability. We are going through a very difficult period, truly critical in the country’s history and in the history of democracy,” Rousseff said in Brasilia.
However, “Brazil will provide the very best reception for athletes and foreign visitors because we have created the conditions for this.”
The flame, which arrived in a small lantern from the ancient Greek site of Olympia, via Switzerland, was transferred to Brazil’s Olympic torch featuring waves of tropical colors.
The torch will now be carried in a relay by 12,000 people through 329 cities, ending in Rio’s Maracana stadium on August 5 for the opening ceremony.
Air Force jets roared overhead in a clear blue sky to write “Rio 2016” and the five Olympic rings in their vapor trails. Then there were cheers as the first relay runner, double Olympic gold-winning women’s volleyball captain Fabiana Claudino, set off.