BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The Olympic torch touched down Monday
in Europe on its last relay leg of the world's five continents
before the August opening of the summer games in Athens, Greece.
The torch was handed to Belgian officials and athletes at
Brussels International Airport by Spiros Lambridis, head of the
Athens 2004 delegation, which is staging relays in Olympic cities
around the world.
"It is an honor," said Francois Narmon, head of the Belgian
Olympic Committee, after receiving the torch. "It's a privilege to
be part of this relay, that we can relive the fact that we once
hosted these games here," he told VTM television.
The torch was driven in a convoy of six cars to the port city of
Antwerp, which was home of the 1920 games. From there, it starts a
European tour of 17 cities, including all which have previously
hosted Olympic games, including London, Moscow, Stockholm, Rome and
The torch arrived in Belgium from Montreal, Canada, which hosted
the 1976 Summer Olympics and was the flame's last North American
The flame began its trek on March 25 in the games' ancient
birthplace at Olympia in Greece.
The flame will return to Greece July 9, and make its way to
Athens for the start of the games Aug. 13.
On Tuesday the flame will make its way back to Brussels, where
the second day's relay will start from the Robert Schuman square,
home to the headquarters of the European Union.
From there it will wind its way through the old city to the
medieval Grand' Place square.
On Wednesday the torch heads to Amsterdam.