At the opening ceremony, Urmas Sõõrumaa, president of Estonian Olympic Committee, said he was pleased that the Olympic flame could be re-ignited in Tallinn with dignity. “Tallinn has the honor to be an Olympic city, and the Olympic flame as the symbol of this status now also has a befitting home. I would like the Olympic flame to keep burning in our hearts and souls, driving us towards a better world and better us. It is, in fact, the Olympic values - excellence, friendship, respect, fair play, the joy of making efforts, and harmonious development - that define the principles which more broadly concern the entire society and its values driving us forth in development. A flame is mystical and inspires us for further action,” Sõõrumaa said.
The reopening of the Tallinn Olympic cauldron is especially notable because the renovation was supported by Olympic Solidarity.
Mihhail Kõlvart, chairman of Tallinn City Council and member of the executive committee of Estonian Olympic Committee, said that the 1980 Summer Olympic Games placed Tallinn among Olympic cities so that we find ourselves alongside London, PyeongChang, Rio de Janeiro, Athens, Torino and other famous cities of the world. “Today, we can again call Tallinn an Olympic city and re-ignite the Olympic flame in the renovated Olympic cauldron. This place here will serve us as the reminder of the Olympic ideals and goals which we strive for. One of Estonian Olympic Committee’s goals is expanding the scope of youth sports and fostering sports for all activities, which is also an important objective for Tallinn. Let the flame here in the Olympic Sailing Center be our inspiration and reminder in the process of pursuing this goal as well as provide spiritual support to athletes striving higher, further and faster,” Kõlvart noted.
On September 17, for the first time in decades, the Olympic flame was ignited in Tallinn Olympic Sailing Center by Vaiko Vooremaa, the sailing athlete who lit the Olympic flame in Tallinn for the 1980 Olympic sailing regatta, and 13-year-old Angeliina Maria Isabel Õunap, the gold medallist of the Zoom8 Sailing World Championships 2018.
Vaiko Vooremaa recalled the lighting of the flame during the 1980 Tallinn Olympic Regatta. “The flame lighting procedure was slightly different back then, but all the greetings and bowings were the same. When the flame was lit, I had this rush of warm feeling inside. I want to come back tonight after sunset and see how the Olympic flame burns in the dark, accentuated by lighting,” Vooremaa said.
The Tallinn Olympic cauldron has undergone extensive renovation and construction works resulting in refurbished interior and exterior, and 1980 Olympic sailing winners’ name plaques have also been repaired. The base now has lighting.
Possibly the most important fact is that now the flame can be re-ignited. From now on, we will be able to see the Olympic flame in Tallinn on major special occasions, for example, the opening of the Olympic Games and on 23 June, the International Olympic Day. The schedule of igniting the flame will be approved and confirmed by Estonian Olympic Committee.