Anna Korakaki Will Be First Ever Woman To Kick Off Olympic Torch Relay, in Lead Up to Tokyo 2020 Games

Greek Olympic shooting champion Anna Korakaki will become the first female athlete to carry the Olympic torch during the first leg of its relay, in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 games this summer.

On March 12, Korakaki will head to Olympia in Greece—the site that hosted the original Olympic Games in antiquity—where she will have the torch lit by a symbolic high priestess at at a traditional ceremony, beginning the flame's long journey to Japan.

"It's a great honour for me. I am thrilled, and I think the feelings will get even more intense in Ancient Olympia. I am looking forward to experiencing that moment and I'm sure it will remain etched in my mind and heart for the rest of my life," Korakaki said in a press release.

Korakaki won a gold medal for the 25 meter pistol event at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. Since then, the 23-year-old has added to her success by winning the 2018 World Championships for 10 meter air pistol and taking home the gold medal for 25 meter pistol at the 2019 European Games.

But despite her success at a young age, Korakaki—who was born in the city of Drama in northeastern Greece—is seemingly not content to rest on her laurels.

"The truth is that I have won all titles that you can win in shooting, and in sport in general—even the [10m air pistol] World Record which was my dream," the 23-year-old told Olympic Channel. "Now I just hope that I'll stay on that level and get the titles again, and again, and again. I hope to stay at the top level for another 10 to 15 years."

The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC)—Greece's Governing Olympic body—decided unanimously that Korakaki would be the first torchbearer for the Tokyo 2020 games

Anna Korakaki
Gold medalist Anna Korakaki of Greece smiles on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 25 meter pistol event on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Shooting Centre on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

"It is a historic moment, as for the first time in history a female athlete will be the first torchbearer. I believe that Anna Korakaki has honoured the Greek flag and our country, and she deserves it, not only for the two medals at the Rio Olympics, but also for her successes after 2016," HOC President, International Olympic Committee Member Spyros Capralos, said in a press release.

Once her leg of the relay is over, Korakaki will hand the torch to Japanese athlete Mizuki Noguchi who won the marathon event at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In total, the torch will spend eight days in Greece before being flown to Japan.

The flame will then be taken to all of Japan's 47 prefectures over the course of 121 days in the lead up to the summer games. Its final destination will be Tokyo's New National Stadium where the final torchbearer will light the main cauldron on July 24, during the opening ceremony of the games.