The street-by-street route of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay has been revealed, with a total of 8,000 torchbearers guiding the flame through its 70-day tour of the country
The origins of the iconic Olympic torch lie in ancient Greece, where a fire was kept burning throughout the celebration of the ancient Olympics to commemorate the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus.
The fire was reintroduced at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, and it has been part of the modern Olympic Games ever since. The ritual for the lighting of the Flame is extremely precise and has been followed at every games. It is lit from the sun’s intense rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional ceremony among the ruins of the home of the ancient Games.
After a short relay around Greece, the Flame is handed over to the new Host City at another ceremony in the Panathenaiko stadium in Athens.
The Flame is then delivered to the Host Country, where it is transferred from one Torchbearer to another, spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship. It ends its journey as the last Torchbearer lights the cauldron at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, marking the official start of the Games.
For London 2012, the torch will begin its journey in Lands End on Saturday 19 May and continue on until it finally reaches the Olympic Park Friday 27 July.
Amongst the 8,000 torchbearers carrying the torch is the magnificent Diana Gould (see video above), who will turn 100 in May. The great-grandmother of six was nominated by her granddaughter Alexandra Antscherl to be a torchbearer because of her positive attitude, which has evidently served her well during her long and energetic lifetime.
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