By Stephen Wade
AP Sports Writer
RIO DE JANEIRO — Mayor Eduardo Paes says he wants the Olympic cauldron to burn in Rio de Janeiro’s revitalized port area.
The cauldron will be lit at Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, and will spend the night there before traveling to a permanent home.
Mario Andrada, spokesman for the Rio organizing committee, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the cauldron will be placed in the port area, but not in the heart of the renovated port area known as Plaza Maua.
“It will be close to Plaza Maua, but not exactly in Plaza Maua,” Andrada said. He said it was likely to be located near the Candelaria Church, which is near the plaza.
“Don’t get me into a fight with the mayor,” Andrada added.
Paes said he hoped the new plaza would be a center for outdoor entertainment during the games, including performance stages, musical attractions, and large-screen televisions.
“It seems that the Maracana Stadium has limitations,” Paes said, adding that moving out of the Maracana “is good because it democratizes the access to the cauldron.”
The new plaza and downtown Rio are far from the heart of the games in suburban Barra da Tijuca. It is also an area not usually visited by tourists.
The Olympic flame arrives from Greece and Switzerland on Tuesday in the capital Brasilia, to be carried off the plane by IOC member Carlos Nuzman, the head of the Rio organizing committee.
The flame then goes to the Planalto presidential palace where it is expected to be greeted by President Dilma Rousseff.
Andrada said IOC President Thomas Bach and other top IOC officials would not be at the ceremony.
Rousseff is facing impeachment charges and could be suspended from office as early as May 11, turning over authority to Vice President Michel Temer.
Temer, himself, could also face impeachment proceedings and has a scandal-tainted career.
AP reporter Mauricio Savarese contributed to this report.