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article imageOlympic torch arrives in UK for 2012 torch relay

By Layne Weiss     May 18, 2012 in Sports
The Olympic flame has arrived from Athens, Greece to the UK, BBC News reports. The flame is ready for the 2012 London Olympics, which will begin on July 27.
The Airbus plane, 'Firefly,' landed at the Culdrose naval air station, Reuters reports. Princess Anne, Games chairman Sebastian Coe, and soccer star David Beckham were among the delegation.
The gold plane was met with with cheers from a very enthusiastic crowd, The Guardian reports.
BBC News reports that Princess Ann carried the lantern containing the flame form the aircraft onto the tarmac. It was then transferred to David Beckham who used it to light a cauldron, officially marking the flame's arrival on British soil.
Beckham said the arrival of the flame was a "very proud moment for everybody."
"Seb (Coe) and the team have done an incredible job," Beckham said. "I'm very proud to be part of this team bringing the flame. As a nation we're going to have an amazing couple of months."
On Saturday, a 70 day, 8,000 mile torch relay around Britain will begin. Reuters reports that gold medalist sailor Ben Ainslie will carry the torch on the first leg from Land's End.
The second runner is Anastasia "Tassy" Swallow, an 18 year old surfer from St Ives, The Guardian reports.
Seb Coe said that many of the runners are "members of the community through which they're carrying the torch." He said that market research shows that millions will be watching, and will get to see their "local coach, teacher, or policeman."
British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg happily welcomed the arrival of the torch on behalf of the British government, Reuters reports.
"It is a fantastic moment for us, particularly at a time when there is so much anxiety and concern about the economy and other things, to be uplifted by this whole experience and to be able to showcase ourselves as an open-hearted, generous, dynamic, positive country," Clegg said. 'It's a wonderful opportunity for the country as a whole."
According to BBC News, the first Olympic flame burned in Amsterdam in 1928, but it wasn't until the 1936 Olympics in Berlin that a torch relay took place.
More about London 2012 Olympics, Olympic torch relay, David beckham
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