London Olympic Organizers Announce 2012 Torch Relay Plans

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With the Olympics now just two years away and approaching fast, the organizers of the 2012 Summer Games in London have unveiled their plans for the traditional torch relay that will precede the games. The announcement comes amid controversies within London and beyond over how to cut Olympic costs amid growing European economic concerns, which are affecting every aspect of life for Britons.

While these concerns are causing organizers and government officials to reevaluate many of the plans for the 2012 event, they seem to have little bearing on the planned torch relay, which will last 70 days, span the entire country, and involve around 8,000 young people. It may not be as ostentatious as China’s torch relay in 2008, but it’s still a big deal.

Still, the torch relay is not without controversies of its own. This past year, the International Olympic Committee decided not to hold an international torch relay ahead of the 2012 games due to conflicts with Chinese officials. Britain’s big torch event is an effort to make up for the loss of the usual international event.

The flame is set to arrive in Britain on May 18, 2012, and it will immediately begin its 70-day tour around the country before finally entering London for the opening-day ceremony set to take place on July 27th.

According to organizers, the torch’s route is supposed to carry it within an hour of 95 percent of the population of Britain. The goal is to have the country’s entire population come together behind this cause on one of the largest stages in the world.

Using no shortage of hyperbole, London mayor Boris Johnson has heralded the importance of this development and has called the torch’s May 2012 arrival “arguably the start of the most important three months in the capital’s recent history.” This may be going a little too far, but it’s clear that Olympic organizers hope to rally Britons behind the Olympic spirit and perhaps harness this energy for a strong home-field advantage.

More details will come out as we get closer to the games. For now, the organizers aren’t saying who will be chosen to carry the torch into the Olympic Stadium, where the opening ceremony will be held, and they have not revealed any details about the Olympic torch-lighting spectacle. These details typically remain closely guarded secrets until the big day arrives.

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