The ancient tradition continues to this day: the Olympic torch was lit in ancient Olympia marking the start of the Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea for the first time, the second Asian nation to host the Winter Olympics.

Former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung was the first South Korean to run with the torch, picking up the flame from Apostolos Aggelis, the first torch bearer, just outside the ancient stadium.

However the weather offered clouds and light rain reports noted, forcing the high priestess to use the back-up flame. Traditionally a reflector is used, drawing upon the sun’s rays to light the torch.

Despite increasing tensions between North and South Korea, Games chief Lee Hee-beom was optimistic when talking to reporters about the positive impact the Games will have on the international community.

“We want the international community to understand that we are committed to hosting a safe and secure Olympic winter Games,” Hee-beom told Reuters.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the ceremony and the Olympic Games “send a very important message to the world”.

The flame has continued to make its way around Greece, having arrived at the Acropolis on Monday with the ceremony to hand over the flame to the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee held at the Panathenaic Stadium on Tuesday.

The torch is set to arrive at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony which will be held 9 February 2018.

The PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games 2018 will take place from Friday 9 February to Wednesday 21 February 2018.