POSTED: May 17th 2012
Olympic Flame handed over to Princess Anne and LOCOG delegation
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
May 17 – The London 2012 delegation led by International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Princess Anne has now officially taken up the Olympic Torch after the final leg of the Greek relay.
The handover took place in iconic Panathenaic Stadium and the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, was in attendance as well as the head of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos, and Sebastian Coe, chair of the London 2012 organizing committee.
The Princess Royal was accompanied by Coe, Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, Mayor Boris Johnson, and London 2012 ambassador and soccer superstar David Beckham.
Capralos said, “The Handover of the Olympic Flame is a key milestone for each Olympic Games as the Torch Relay rallies the world’s athletes to make their final preparations. After a fantastic eight day Torch Relay around Greece we wish London and the whole of the UK well for a successful 70 day Torch Relay and Olympic Games.”
Head of LOCOG, Coe, added, “Like the Olympic Games, the Flame belongs to the world, and the arrival of the Flame in the host nation is a clarion call to the athletes and young people in more than 200 nations and territories preparing to gather for the London 2012 Games.
“The Olympic Flame will visit every nation and region, shining a light on the people, places, communities and cultures of the United Kingdom. We have found the very best in our Torchbearers, who like Olympic athletes, will inspire a generation.”
The Flame will spend the night tonight at the British Ambassador’s residence, and be transported to Great Britain tomorrow on a special plane. Upon landing David Beckham will be handed the Torch to light a cauldron at from RNAS Culdrose to Land’s End. It will burn there overnight then be taken up by Ben Ainslie to start the 8,000 mile British Torch Relay that is sponsored by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.
Minister Robertson noted, “The Olympic Flame will travel far and wide across the country and celebrate many local heroes, picked to be Torchbearers, who make such a positive contribution in their communities. We stand ready to welcome the world this summer and showcase the very best of Britain.”
Newly re-elected Mayor Johnson was thrilled to make the trip and said, “Receiving the Olympic Flame is a great honour. Its arrival signals the beginning of a fantastic summer for London when the world will focus on this great city to celebrate the greatest sporting extravaganza on the planet.
“It is also the starting gun for London to harness the extraordinary opportunity the Games offer to build on the impressive legacy of new jobs and economic growth we are already delivering across the capital.”
The London Olympic Games will kick off on July 27th and run to the 12th of August.
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Laura Walden ()
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