Category: World Sports Created on Sunday, 20 May 2012 08:36 Published Date Written by GNA Hits: 402
London, May 18, (dpa/GNA) - Britain was getting ready to welcome the arrival of the Olympic flame which left Athens Friday ahead of the start of a 70-day torch relay culminating in the opening of the London 2012 Games on July 27.
Footballer David Beckham, Princess Anne and Sebastian Coe, chairman of Games organizing committee, were flying from Athens with the flame following Thursday's formal handover ceremony.
Flight BA2012, a gold-colour plane named Firefly, is expected to arrive at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall at around 7.30 p.m. (1830 GMT) when the flame will be carried from the aircraft in a lantern by the Princess Royal for a welcoming ceremony and cauldron lighting event.
The 8,000 mile torch relay around the United Kingdom begins on Saturday, starting from Land's End, Cornwall, and ending at the opening ceremony of the Games in Stratford, east London.
Triple Olympic gold medal-winning sailor Ben Ainslie will be the first of 8,000 torchbearers to carry the torch across the country.
The flame, lit last week with the help of the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia, the site of the first ancient games, was handed over to Princess Anne by the president of the Hellenic Olympic committee Spyros Capralos at a ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on Thursday.
The arrival of the flame in Britain will be a "resounding clarion call" to the world's top athletes to gather for the Games Lord Coe said at the ceremony.
Organizers have made sure that, during its 12,800-kilometre journey around the country, one of the 8,000 torchbearers will pass within 15 kilometres of the homes of 95 per cent of the population. Their route will take in 1,018 cities, towns and villages.
It will, at times, be spectacular, with major landmarks such as Loch Ness, the Scottish lake reputed to house the Loch Ness monster, the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge and Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway on its route.
The torch will also visit Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland.
Among its runners will be Diana Gould, a great-grandmother who will have passed her 100th birthday when she carries the torch through the streets of Barnet, north London, on July 25.
"The story of the flame will be about those that carry it - their stories will inspire," Lord Coe said.
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