The Paralympics may start tomorrow, but the Paralympic Flame is already burning! The torch relay began on September 1st and the torch itself visited five cities in Brazil before arriving in Rio de Janeiro. Before departing the starting point, the Paralympic Torch was virtually lit by internet users from around the world through the use of hashtags, such as #ParalympicFlame, that were related to the Paralympic and Rio 2016 values of equality, determination, inspiration, transformation, courage and passion. Here is an example from @Rio2016_en. As people used the hashtags on social media for the 2016 Paralympics and each value, the online Paralympic Torch grew stronger. Each city visited by the Torch represented one of six different values: Equality in Brasilia, determination in Belem, inspiration in Natal, transformation in Sao Paolo, courage in Joinville, and passion in Rio.
While the physical Paralympic Torch traveled with the athletes to each city and finally arrived in Rio yesterday, the online version of the Torch was powered through the use of the official hashtag #ParalympicFlame on Twitter and Facebook, to share the light of the torch with Brazil and the rest of the world. More than 740 torch bearers carried the Torch through each city; a journey that covered a total of 250 kilometers. Yesterday, all the separate flames merged into one flame at a ceremony in the Museu de Amanha (Museum of Tomorrow). Once the flames were joined into one, the Torch visited various parts of the city and, during the games, the Paralympic Flame will burn in a special cauldron in front of the Church of Candelaria.