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Flame for Rio de Janeiro Olympics lit in Athens, birthplace of ancient games

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ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece — The flame for Rio de Janeiro Olympics has been lit in Athens at the birthplace of the ancient games.

The chief organizer of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics says the games will help unite the troubled host country, and is promising to “deliver history.'”

Carlos Nuzman says Brazil has so far sailed “through some of the most challenging waters the Olympic movement has seen.”

Brazil is going through an acute political crisis and deep economic recession.

Speaking during Thursday’s flame-lighting ceremony for the Rio Games in Ancient Olympia, southern Greece, Nuzman added that the first Olympics in South America bring a message “that can and will unite” Brazil.

Once the flame is lit, in the ruined birthplace of the ancient games, it will start on its 15-week journey that will culminate at the Aug. 5 opening ceremony in Rio’s Maracana Stadium.