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Olympic Torch: Romeu proposes to girlfriend during relay

2016-06-14 14:41:00 Rio 2016

Romeu asked for hand of unsuspecting girlfriend Samya in midst of Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay in northeastern Brazil.

Olympic Torch kindles flame of love: torchbearer Romeu proposes to girlfriend during relay.

Samya accepted on the spot and the happy couple ran the next leg of the relay hand-in-hand (Photo: Rio 2016/AndréLuiz Mello)

Because Valentine's Day in February takes place in the midst of Carnival fever, when minds are on other matters, Brazilians have chosen another day to celebrate all things romantic: 12 June.

This year an enterprising participant in the Rio 2016 Olympic Torch Relay made the most of the date to propose to his long-term girlfriend.

His name? Romeu.

Four hundred years after the death of William Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon, Romeu Matos proved that the spirit of romance is alive and well in northeastern Brazil.

It doesn't matter that his lucky fiancée may not be called Juliet; a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

The 27-year-old surprised his long-term girlfriend Samya Taliani Silva during the torch relay in the town of São Luís near the Amazon rainforest.

According to the schedule for the day, Samya was due to pass on the flame to Romeu. As she completed her leg of the relay, Romeu was there waiting on his knees with a bouquet of flowers, an engagement ring and a simple message written on a sign: "Samya, will you marry me?"

She accepted on the spot.

The Rio 2016 Organising Committee helped Romeu plan the proposal in secret.

"I didn't expect anything. I'm really emotional as it was such a great surprise," Samya said.

Romeu seemed as relieved as he was happy after his very public proposal. "Luckily, everything turned out all right. I want to thank everyone involved."

"It was wonderful, beautiful, wasn't it my love?" he asked his thrilled bride-to-be.

Marriage of true minds.

Whereas the romance of Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers was "too like the lightning, which doth cease to be ere one can say 'It lightens'," Romeu and Samya have been together for five years. The couple met at university and have a four-year-old daughter, Ana Cecília, who was on hand to celebrate the big moment and who stole the hearts of everyone at the relay.

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