World-champion gymnast Eleftherios Petrounias has been bestowed with the honour of starting the torch relay for this year’s Summer Olympics.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the flame will commence its journey late next week at a ceremony in Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, making its way to the final destination of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

An actress will play the role of the High Priestess of the Goddess Hera and will adhere to tradition by igniting the flame with the sun’s rays and a parabolic mirror, before finally handing it to Petrounias.

“The lighting of the flame links the ancient and modern civilisations,” said Spyros Capralos, president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee.

Petrounias will then pass the flame to former Brazilian volleyball player Giovane Gavio, with the relay scheduled to reach Brazil early next month.

It will then ceremoniously pass through hundreds of small towns and cities before arriving at the Games’ opening ceremony on 5 August.