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Internet users light up Paralympic Torch on epic relay around Brazil

2016-08-30 08:56:00 Rio 2016

The design of the torch reflects the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)

Just as the design of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Torch closely follows the shape of the Olympic Torch but incorporates subtle differences, the Paralympic Torch relay in September will represent an innovative variation on the route of the Olympic relay.

The relay, which begins on Thursday (1 September), will visit five cities in Brazil – Brasília, Belém, Natal, São Paulo and Joinville – before arriving in Rio de Janeiro.

The five flames, plus a flame that will be lit this week in the small British town of Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement, will all come together in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday (6 September), the day before the opening ceremony in the Maracanã.

The relay will harness the power of modern communication technologies to share the magic of the torch with Brazil and the world.

Internet users will play a major part. In each city, hashtags related to Paralympic and Rio 2016 values and sent by social media users around the world will be used to 'light' the flame virtually: in Brasília, equality; in Belém, determination; in Natal, inspiration; in São Paulo, transformation; and in Joinville, courage.

The value that will be used to light the torch in Rio de Janeiro will be passion.

To participate in the relay, internet users need to post a message with the official hashtag and the hashtag of the value for the city that day: for example, #ParalympicFlame and #equality

At www.rio2016.com, users will be able to monitor a heat map created by the tweets.

The Paralympic Torch will visit cities in each of Brazil's five regions

In total, 745 torchbearers will carry the torch inside each chosen city, in a journey which will total 250 kilometres.

In each city, the relay will visit institutions which work to improve the lives of people with an impairment. There will also be ceremonies in major parks and public spaces.

Outside Brazil, the town of Stoke Mandeville will host a special torch lighting ceremony on 2 September. The first ever sporting events for people with a disabilitywere hosted at Stoke Mandeville Stadium by Dr Ludwig Guttman in 1948. From this spark, the global Paralympic movement was born.

On 6 September in Rio de Janeiro, all of the separate flames will be merged into one at a special ceremony in the Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) in the revitalised port district. The torch will then visit various parts of the city, including the world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer.

During the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which will run from 7 September to 18 September, the Paralympic flame will burn in a special cauldron in front of the church of Candelária in the historic centre of Rio de Janeiro. During the Olympic Games, the cauldron in the same location became a major hit with tourists and local residents.

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