London 2012: Olympic flame to be handed over in Athens
Published: 17th May 2012 01:07:01
The Olympic flame is due to be handed over to organisers of the London Games at a ceremony in Athens.
Since it was lit in Athens on 10 May the flame has been carried in a week-long relay across Greece.
After receiving the flame in the Panathenaic Stadium, a British delegation including David Beckham will fly with the torch to the UK on Friday.
It will then be carried 8,000 miles (12,875km) by 8,000 bearers in a 70-day relay ending at the Olympic Park.
The relay begins at Land's End on Saturday when triple Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie will be the first to carry the Barber Osgerby-designed torch on British soil.
After criss-crossing every region of the UK, the flame will be used to light the cauldron in Stratford's Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 27 July.
The British delegation at Thursday evening's handover ceremony in Athens includes London 2012 chief Lord Coe, British Olympic Association President the Princess Royal, Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson and London Mayor Boris Johnson.
They will be joined by London 2012 ambassador Beckham and five young people chosen by Games organisers Locog and the British Council for their commitment to sport and their role in promoting the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect within their school or college.
Hailing from different national regions, the youngsters are part of London 2012's Get Set education network and school linking programmes run by the British Council.
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Lord Coe said Locog wanted to involve young people from across the UK in bringing home the Olympic flame.
"Their stories of personal achievement and contribution to sport echo the 8,000 inspiring torchbearer stories that will be shared from this weekend and over the next 10 weeks in the build-up to the start of the Games," he said.
After spending Thursday night at the British embassy in Athens, the flame will be brought to the UK by the British delegation on BA2012 on Friday evening, where there will be a welcoming ceremony at RNAS Culdrose.
The flame - symbolising purity because it comes directly from the sun - was kindled at a 10 May ceremony in Olympia by actress Ino Menegaki, playing a high priestess, who caught the sun's rays in a parabolic mirror.
That ceremony took place amid the Temple of Hera ruins, by the ancient Olympic Games stadium.
The torch was then carried 1,800 miles through Greece by 500 torchbearers on a week-long route circling the country and travelling out to the islands of Crete and Kastelorizo.
The flame was then "laid to rest" in a ceremony at the Acropolis on Wednesday.
The Panathenaic Stadium hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, and the last torchbearers before Thursday's handover ceremony will be Greek weightlifter Pyrros Dimas and Chinese gymnast Li Ning - who lit the cauldron at the spectacular opening ceremony for Beijing 2008.
The 2008 Olympic torch relay, which travelled the globe, was dogged by pro-Tibet, democracy and anti-China protests.
In contrast, 2012's relay has taken place with the backdrop of economic turbulence in Greece, which has been left without a government and possibly on the brink of leaving the eurozone by the financial crisis.
Greece has seen huge demonstrations of social unrest in previous months, amid efforts to reach a deal with the European Union on a bail-out for its economy.
A flame was first lit at the modern Olympics at the Amsterdam 1928 summer Games, but it was not until Berlin in 1936 that a torch relay route was set out from Greece to Germany.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. London 2012: Olympic flame to be handed over in Athens [Online] (Updated 17th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1429104/London-2012-Olympic-flame-to-be-handed-over-in-Athens [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
A car built in Belfast in the 1980s is the centrepiece of a specialist engineering project at Queen's University in the city.