The presentation of the ‘Flame of Peace’ torch relay of the 2nd European Games was held in Minsk’s Virtual Reality Park TELEPORT VR on April 6 where the torch, its relay route and the torchbearers’ uniforms were presented.
Created by the designer of the Minsk European Games Organizing Committee (MEGOC) Yulia Braychuk in collaboration with the specialists of the Novogrudok Gas Equipment Plant, the torch design aligns with the overall concept of the 2nd European Games - it inspires to dream, hints at the mysteries of Belarusian nature, and fills the capital city of the country with energy. On Belarusian land, the Olympic values and the look of the flame are best embodied in the radiant magic flower Paparats-kvetka.
The torch, whose case is made of stainless steel, weighs slightly more than 1.7 kg and its height is 81 cm. The weight and center of gravity were designed to make running with the torch very comfortable. There is also an option to attach the torch to a bicycle or a wheelchair.
The CEO of the Organizing Committee George Katulin opened the ceremony:
“Since time immemorial, humanity has had an inexplicable craving for fire. A long time ago, the famous Prometheus accomplished the feat of bringing fire to the people and since then, this ‘fire’ burns in the heart of every passionate person, symbolizing achievements in various spheres. Today we present the torch relay of the ‘Flame of Peace’ of the 2nd European Games. Its very name already speaks of the goal that the organizers of the multi-sports competition are pursuing - first of all, to unite all European countries around a wonderful holiday that will take place in Minsk and turn it into the brightest event of 2019.
"Coincidentally, the presentation is taking place on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The aims of the ‘Flame of Peace’ relay fully align with the global goals declared by the United Nations."
Prominent Belarusian figures in sport, culture and art were invited to the presentation of the torch relay.
- four-time Olympic champion in rapier fencing and the only Olympic champion among women in individual competitions in the history of Soviet fencing, Elena Belova;
- creator of the project “Mobile navigator for people with disabilities INVO” and member of the Wings of Angels marathon team, Yulia Stefnyak;
- veteran theater and film actor, film director, Vladimir Gostyukhin;
- motivational coach, member of Belarus’ Paralympic team in swimming, Alexey Talay.
The ‘Flame of Peace’ relay will start on May 3 in Rome, Italy. In exactly 50 days, on June 21, the relay will conclude with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the main arena of the 2nd European Games - the National Olympic Stadium Dynamo. The European Games flame will visit 55 locations in eight countries (Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Belarus), covering a distance of 7,700 km.
The relay will involve 450 torchbearers, 100 volunteers and 10 'flame keepers'. The flame of the 2nd European Games will be brought to the highest point in Europe - Mont Blanc. Then it will visit the main sights of the countries along the relay route, and arrive in Belarus on May 12, where it will visit the biggest cities as well as the most remote sites in the host country. It will pass through the national park Belovezhskaya Pushcha, raft down the Augustów Channel, visit the estates of famous locals, the castles in Mira and Novogrudok, and descend into the salt mines of Belaruskali.
The uniform of the ‘Flame of Peace’ torch relay, developed by Belarusian designer Yulia Latushkina, was also presented at the ceremony. Using traditionally light colors, the uniform symbolizes peace and purity, which correspond to the ideals of the Olympic movement.
The guests of the presenation witnessed the unique ceremony of how the torch is lit and passed on between torchbearers. But the surprises didn't end there. Motion capture technology (a method of animating characters and objects) was used in Belarus for the first time to bring a 3D model of the official Games mascot Lesik to life. Thanks to this technology, the cheerful fox could became a co-host and even started speaking! It was specifically for this reason that the presentation of the 'Flame of Peace' was held in the TELEPORT VR Virtual Reality Park.
The organizers and participants of the torch relay also revealed some behind-the-scenes secrets about the event. The head of the biker club "The one chapter Belarus" Evgeny Beyzak said that even bad weather won't be able to stop the sturdy Belarussian represenatives of the biker movement as they transport the 'Flame of Peace' across Europe to Belarus. Each motorcycle will display the national flag and the flag of the torch relay while the motorcade travels in foreign territory. Motovelo will be the official partner of the torch relay abroad and will have 20 additional motorcycles on hand to support the bikers' movement.
The Minsk European Games Organizing Committee expresses its gratitude to the TELEPORT VR Virtual Reality Park for hosting the ‘Flame of Peace’ torch relay presentation ceremony.