Rio Olympic flame burning brightly

The torch relay will be carried on a 3-month journey which will culminate in the opening ceremony in Rio.

First torchbearer, world champion at the artistic gymnastics Lefteris Petrounias (R) passes the Olympic flame to second torchbearer, Brazilian volleyball player, Giovane Cavio during the torch relay, on 21 April 2016 in ancient Olympia. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Olympic flame for the Rio 2016 Games is now burning brightly after a ceremony kicked the off the torch's multi country relay.

The torch for the Rio Olympics that takes in place August has been lit at the site of ancient Games before setting off on Olympic Torch Relay that will cross Greece, Switzerland and Brazil.

The lighting of the Olympic flame always follows elaborate rituals that are part of an evocative tradition, connecting the ancient Games, first held in Olympia in 776 BC, with the modern Games that started in 1896.

The torch relay will be carried by a multitude of stars on its three-month journey which will culminate in the opening ceremony in Rio on 5 August.

The ritual was established 80 years ago for the Berlin Games, it is based on a ceremony in Ancient Olympia where games were held for more than 1,000 years.

Before the flame arrives in South America it will begin a six-day relay across Greece, passing through the town of Marathon as well as a camp for refugees and migrants in Athens.

Thereafter it will embark on a 100 day tour of Brazil passing through 500 cities in every state before reaching its final destination at the iconic Maracana Stadium.