London 2012: Olympic torch to start 8,000-mile journey around Britain today

London 2012: Olympic torch to start 8,000-mile journey around Britain today

The Olympic flame Photo: REUTERS/John Kolesidis

 

When the Olympic flame touches down on British soil later today it’ll mark the start of an epic journey.

Covering 8,000 miles and coming within 10 miles of 95% of the entire population, all eyes will be on the flame.

But there are in fact several “flames”. To prevent the ever-present danger of the flame being snuffed out, the torch convoy carries several spare versions.

Alongside the flame on show, there are lanterns which hold other flames lit from the same cauldron at Olympia. They can be activated at any time in order to relight the flame should it go out.

The Olympic torch being tested on Mount Snowdon Credit: ITV News

 

The testing process has been rigorous. As well as being tested in wind tunnels at a BMW centre in Germany, it has been trialled at the top of Mount Snowdon to ensure gusts on Britain’s highest peak (1,085m above sea level) don’t present a problem.

Each night the flame takes a rest at a secret location. Whilst we know that on the eve of its relay it willl stay in the officer’s mess at Culdrose, organisers were being hugely tight-lipped about its overnight stops in subsequent locations.

An actress dressed as the High Priestess during the ceremony to officially light the Olympic Flame at the Temple of Hera in Greece Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

 

Yet that hasn’t prevented the growing anticipation here in the South West. Wherever you drive you see a sign which points to an Olympic torch-themed event or a road closure ahead of the flame’s impending visit.

Local communities are holding events as diverse as Cornish boxing through to attempting to break the world record for the number of cream teas served in an hour.

The 8,000 torchbearers – most of whom have interesting and inspiring stories of personal achievement – will be feeling the pressure as the flame gets closer to British soil. And so they should. The eyes of the world are on them.

Cornwall Council and Olympic organisers LOCOG estimate a television audience of one billion people. That might be an optimistic figure, but there’s certainly no shortage of excitement as Cornwall gets a chance to showcase its beauty to the world.

Source Darren Burn http://www.itv.com/news


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