A Moment to Shine
The 2012 Olympic Games will be taking place in London, England from 27 July to 12 August this year. London was chosen as the host city over four other cities on 6 July 2005, and will be the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times. It was also the host city in 1908 and 1948.
Preparations for the Olympic Games include selecting the torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Torch around the country in an impressive relay. The Olympic Torch, or the Olympic Flame, is a symbol of the Olympic Games. It represents the theft of fire from the Greek God Zeus by Prometheus. In ancient Greece, a fire burned continuously throughout the Olympic Games. This tradition was revived in 1928 at the modern Olympics in Amsterdam, and has been a part of Olympic tradition ever since. Today, the Olympic Torch is lit in a traditional ceremony at the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece, several months before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The flame is then transported to the host country.
8,000 people will take part in this year’s Olympic Torch Relay, which begins on 19 May. Although some celebrities and sports personalities will be taking part, most of the torchbearers will be members of the public who have been nominated by people they know. The nominees include people of all ages who have overcome difficulties in their lives, helped others, or been an inspiration to others in some way. Tens of thousands of people were nominated for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the people with the most inspiring stories were chosen to become this year’s torchbearers and have their moment to shine.
The Olympic Torch Relay will pass through more than 1,000 communities on its 70-day journey around the UK. It will allow the watching world to see the very best that each area has to offer, including historical attractions, cultural treasures, architectural landmarks, breathtaking natural scenery and vibrant urban areas. The route has been designed so that the Olympic Flame will come within ten miles of 95% of people in the UK. The torchbearers will also be using some unusual means of transport, such as riding on horseback, travelling by steam train and even sliding along a zip wire.
The oldest torchbearer will be Dinah Gould, aged 100. The youngest will be Dominic MacGowan, aged 11. Like the other torchbearers, they will wear a special uniform of white trousers and a white T-shirt with the five rings of the Olympic logo on the front, and gold shards around the neck and arms to represent the Olympic Flame.
The Olympic Torch Relay ends on the day of the opening ceremony of the Games. The final torchbearer will run into the stadium carrying the torch and will use the torch to light a flame in the stadium. The flame will continue to burn until the day of the closing ceremony, in true Olympic tradition.