HAGATNA, Guam (AP) -- The Olympic flame landed in Guam on Monday, greeted by thousands of spectators on a blustery day marking the torch's first journey through the Pacific.
Missing from the reception was Kevan Gosper. The IOC vice president had allowed his 11-year-old daughter to replace a Sydney schoolgirl as the first Australian to carry the torch after the traditional lighting in Greece last week.
Gosper, president of the Oceania National Olympic Committee, had been scheduled to preside over the start of the torch's 17-day tour of Oceania.
He will be taking a break in Europe before flying to Brazil for the next IOC executive board meeting. But his absence didn't spoil the celebrations.
"This is one of the greatest moments of my life," said Ricardo Blas, who represented Guam in Judo at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and is now president of the national Olympic committee.
"It even beats marching into the Olympic stadium because this is done on my island and in front of my own people," he added.
Blas lighted the first torch from a flame that arrived in Guam aboard an aircraft. The flame was handed over to the Sydney organizing committee in Athens before being carried in a lantern to the tiny Pacific island nation.
Olympic athletes from neighboring nations, school children, local dignitaries, American military personnel and politicians either witnessed or participated in the torch relay. Two sections of the relay were covered in outrigger canoes.
Breezes blew out the flame a number of times but the torchbearers were not perturbed.
"I just kept relighting it," Francisco Diaz Muna said. "Nothing was going to spoil this day."
A small group of indigenous Chomorro people carrying the red, black and yellow flags of Australia's indigenous people staged a peaceful demonstration at Two Lovers' Point, the site of the lighting of the first of 100 torchbearers.
In the first of what was expected to be a series of protests, members of the Colonial Chomorro Coalition said they had turned out in support of Aboriginal land rights and for the rights of indigenous people throughout the region.
"We are not against the Olympics," group chairman Chris Perez Howard said. "We are simply here to show our support for the indigenous people of the Pacific who have been the victims of colonization"
Sydney organizers on Monday were monitoring political and security situations in the Solomon Islands and Fiji before deciding whether to proceed with relay legs through those nations.
The torch will land June 8 at Uluru, otherwise known as Ayres Rock, in central Australia to start the 100-day countdown to the Sept. 15 opening ceremony in Sydney.