2012 Summer Olympics torch relay
|Host city||London, United Kingdom|
|Countries visited||United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man|
|Distance||12,800 km (8,000 miles)|
|Start date||10 May 2012|
|End date||27 July 2012|
|Torch designer||Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby|
|Part of a series on|
The traditional lighting ceremony took place on 10 May at the Temple of Hera, Olympia, home of the Ancient Olympic Games. The torch travelled around Greece, arriving at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens on 17 May for the handover ceremony.
The UK torch relay lasted 70 days, with 66 evening celebrations. About 8,000 people carried the torch a total distance of about 8,000 miles (12,800 km), starting from Land's End in Cornwall. A wide range of people carried the torch around the country, mostly sports men and women, military figures and other local heroes from towns and cities across the UK. A number of celebrities also held the flame on its journey, including Doctor Who star Matt Smith, British/Irish boy band The Wanted, dance troupe/Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity and long time TV presenter, dancer, singer and comedian Bruce Forsyth. The torch had a day outside of the United Kingdom in Dublin on 6 June (as well as visits to the Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man). The relay focused on national heritage sites, locations with sporting significance, key sporting events, schools registered with the Get Set School Network, green spaces, biodiversity, 'Live Sites' (locations with large screens), local festivals, and other events.
The torch relay passed within one hour's travelling time for 95% of the UK population. It was intended to help the London 2012 Olympic Legacy by getting school children, local celebrities and local civilians.
Following a three-month tour by LOCOG, local authorities submitted ideas to regional government and LOCOG by May 2010. However some counties such as Somerset declined to put forward ideas citing potential costs of up to £300,000.
The start date for the Relay was announced on 26 May 2010, as were the three presenting partners: Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung. The nomination campaign for torchbearers was announced on 18 May 2011 and called 'Moment to Shine'.
Journey to the UK
On 16 May a British Airways Airbus A319, with custom gold livery and named "The Firefly", flew from Heathrow to Athens to collect the flame. On 18 May the aircraft flew as flight BA2012 from Athens to RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. The flame was not extinguished during flight, having been classified as a 'ceremonial flame' by the Civil Aviation Authority, but was kept in four Davy lamps secured in a cradle firmly fixed to seats in Row 1. There was enough smoke-free fuel to last 30 hours.
HRH The Princess Royal, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Lord Coe, and David Beckham were among 80 invited guests, along with a group of teenagers: rugby player Dennis Coles from East Ayrshire representing Scotland, hockey player Chloe Brown from Bangor representing Northern Ireland, athlete Sean White from Swansea representing Wales, hockey player Georgia Higgs from Cornwall, and Sakinah Muhammad from Hackney representing London.
After an overnight stay at RNAS Culdrose, members of 771 Naval Air Squadron took the Flame to Land's End by Sea King helicopter. There the Olympic Torch was lit. Olympic sailing star Ben Ainslie ran the first leg of the Relay.
The 2012 Olympic Torches were made of aluminium alloy skin, perforated by 8,000 circles to represent the 8,000 torchbearers who would carry the flame. The circles also helped to dissipate heat without it being conducted down the handle, and provided extra grip. The triangular shape of torches represented:
- The three Olympic values - respect, excellence and friendship.
- The three elements of the Olympic motto - faster, higher, stronger.
- The three Olympic Games hosted by the United Kingdom (1908, 1948 and 2012).
- The tri-vision of the 2012 Summer Olympics - sport, education and culture.
The gold of the torches represented the qualities of the Olympic Flame – brightness and warmth. The torch was designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby and stands 80 centimetres (31 in) high, weighing 800 grams (1.8 lb). To realise this award winning design, TECOSIM (an engineering company) was responsible for the research, engineering and technical development of this iconic torch. Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) was used to simulate various scenarios that the torch might encounter during the relay, from environmental conditions to physical damage. Torch bearer safety was of prime importance at all times, so TECOSIM completed rigorous physical testing to validate the design. It was tested to withstand all likely weather conditions, from high winds to rain and snow at altitude. Production of the torches started at the end of 2011.
LOCOG, together with sustainability partner and sponsor EDF Energy, committed in 2009 to provide a "low-carbon fuel solution for the flames of the Olympic torch and the cauldron". When the torch was unveiled on 8 June 2011, London 2012's chairman Sebastian Coe admitted the failure of the initiative, as "In simple terms, we didn't quite get there ... We just ran [out] of time and we tried very hard to do it". The final design of the torch used a "tried and tested formula" of butane and propane.
The torch was escorted by a team of trained officers from the Metropolitan Police Service known as the Torch Security Team. These were chosen from 644 initial applications through an eight-month selection process. Their primary role was to protect the Olympic and Paralympic Flames as well as ensuring the safety of the torchbearer. These "runners" formed part of a wider torch security team which consisted of motorcyclists, pedal cyclists, senior officers and operational planners.
In Derry scuffles broke out between police and republican protesters, as they blocked the planned route near the Guildhall. Consequently the relay was forced to divert in order to reach the Peace Bridge.
At Bishop Auckland (County Durham) the torchbearer was Kieran Maxwell, a 13-year old from Newton Aycliffe. He had been diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma in 2010 and lost part of his left leg. He fell whilst carrying the torch but was quickly helped to his feet by the Torch Security Team.
Modes of transport
As well as road runners, the Flame was conveyed on other modes of transport, sometimes kept in Davy lamps.
On water, the torch rode in a power boat in Bristol Harbour, in an RNLI lifeboat along the Menai Strait, by ferry on the Mersey Ferry, and by the steamboat MV Tern across Windermere. In unpowered watercraft, it was punted along the River Cam in Cambridge, and rowed along the River Medway in Maidstone. Its final journey to the Olympic Stadium on 27 July was by speedboat, piloted by footballer David Beckham along the River Thames.
Over rail the torch was hauled by steam locomotives of various gauges. The LMS Royal Scot Class locomotive No. 6115 Scots Guardsman conveyed it on the East Coast Main Line between York and Thirsk. Scots Guardsman was used as a substitute for No. 4472 Flying Scotsman. It was discovered soon after returning from a long overhaul that Flying Scotsman had lots of unnoticed cracks on it that needed repairing urgently and as a result, the iconic and famous 'Scotsman' was unable to return to service in time to haul the Olympic Torch. Trips were also taken on standard gauge heritage railways at the Great Central Railway, North Yorkshire Moors Railway and Severn Valley Railway On smaller gauges the torch visited the Ffestiniog Railway and a miniature railway Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway. It was taken up funicular railways the Aberystwyth Cliff Railway, Hastings East Hill Cliff Railway, and Great Orme Tramway, as well as the narrow gauge rack railway the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Electric trams carried the torch on the Blackpool tramway and Manx Electric Railway. After it arrived in London the torch took a trip on the London Underground between Wimbledon and Wimbledon Park.
By road vehicle the torch would complete 80% of its tour, in a security van. A road train was used in the Mumbles and it rode on an open top bus through the Cumbrian countryside. The torch was transported on three wheels by a TT motorcycle sidecar on the Isle of Man, by a Paralympic road cycle around Brands Hatch motor racing circuit and by mountain bike at the Hadleigh Farm course in Essex.
Horses were used when it was carried at the Cheltenham and Chester racecourses. It was carried on a Cob horse in Aberaeron and hauled by horse-drawn tram on the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway.
Journeys by air were taken when the torch travelled by zip wire from the top of the Tyne Bridge to the Gateshead riverside[needs update], and when conveyed by cable car up the Heights of Abraham. It was also suspended over water as it was transported by the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge over the River Tees.
Route in Greece
10 May (day 1)
11 May (day 2)
12 May (day 3)
13 May (day 4)
14 May (day 5)
- Kavala, Komotini, Kipoi, Evros, border crossing between Greece and Turkey, Alexandroupoli, Xanthi, Drama
15 May (day 6)
16 May (day 7)
17 May (day 8)
Route in the UK
19 May (day 1): Land's End
14 June (day 27): Alnwick
5 July (day 48): Ipswich
21 July (day 64): Waltham Forest
End of relay
The end of the relay took place in the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
The torch arrived aboard a speedboat piloted by David Beckham, via the Limehouse Cut. Steve Redgrave received the flame from young footballer Jade Bailey, the torchbearer on the boat, and carried it into the Olympic Stadium. Then Redgrave handed the torch to the seven young athletes, each one nominated by an athlete. The athletes then each applied their torch to one of the 204 petals, which then lit and converged to create the cauldron, which was designed by Thomas Heatherwick.
- 2012 Summer Paralympics torch relay
- Real Relay
- Episode 4466, episode of EastEnders in which the torch was carried
- Magnay, Jacquelin (17 May 2011). "London 2012 torch relay should focus on youth". Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- "London 2012 Olympic Flame is lit in Greece". LOCOG. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "London 2012 Olympic torch relay route revealed". BBC News. 18 May 2011. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Dublin to host Olympic Torch'". Irish Times. 8 December 2011.
- "London Culture and 2012 Open Meeting". london.gov.uk. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
- "Olympic Torch relay route". LOCOG. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- "Oxfordshire's Torch Relay for London 2012". Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- "Somerset says no to Olympic torch". The Daily Telegraph (London). 5 April 2010.
- "Search begins for 8,000 inspirational people to carry the Olympic Flame". 18 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- Athens Airport Aviation News 16 May 2012.
- RNAS Culdrose to welcome Olympic Flame into UK, MoD Press Release, 1 February 2012.
- "Olympic Flame for the London 2012 Games is lit in Ancient Olympia". LOCOG. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "The Olympic Torch Relay". LOCOG. 18 May 2011. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
- David Beckham to collect Olympic flame, BBC News, 16 May 2012.
- Clapton collects Olympic Flame
- Naval fliers to get the Olympic flame going on its epic journey (Navy News)
- Olympic Torch Relay ... The Torch
- "London 2012 Sustainability Plan 2nd Edition, December 2009". London 2012. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- Gibson, Owen (8 June 2011). "2012 Olympic torch ignites row over Games' green credentials". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- "BBC News - Olympic torch tackle man near Land's End". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-05-19. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
- Olympic torch trouble in Londonderry
- "Boy continues after fall with torch". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "Olympic torch in Leeds: Owzat for a welcome on the sunshine streets". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- "UK Uncut stage torch protests in Sheffield". UK Uncut. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "Olympic torch: Man charged after 'Free Tibet' streak". BBC News (BBC). 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Streaker Flies the Flag for Free Tibet". Free Tibet Campaign. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
- "Teen arrested after Olympic torch grab attempt in Gravesend". 20 July 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- "Bristol Sailability". Aiming High. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "The Olympic Torch Relay in Bristol". Visit Bristol. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- Hutchinson, Claire (19 March 2012). "Olympic torch's street-by-street route through Wales revealed". Wales Online. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Liverpool's Olympic torch route revealed". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Highlight moments". london2012.com. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Olympic torch set for Windermere steamer ride". BBC News. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Cambridgeshire Olympic torch route revealed". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Kent’s street-by-street Olympic Torch relay route". Kent News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- Dillman, Lisa (27 July 2012). "London Olympics: Message is unity as youngsters light the torch". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Olympic Torch: Flame boards steam train for York to Carlisle leg". BBC News. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "London 2012: Flying Scotsman out of Olympic torch relay". BBC News. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- Ache, Isaac (19 March 2012). "Charnwood's Olympic Torch Relay route revealed". Loughborough Echo. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: North Yorkshire torch relay route revealed". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- Tomaney, William (19 March 2012). "Olympic Torch relay route announced". The Shuttle. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Humber Olympic torch relay route revealed". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Sussex Olympic torch relay route announced". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Fylde coast Olympic torch route revealed". The Gazette. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Olympic torch to be carried in TT sidecar". BBC News. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Olympic torch: Flame rides on London Underground train". BBC News. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- Robinson, Martin; Eccles, Louise (19 March 2012). "Unveiled...the 2012 pyjama torchbearers: And by the way, 80% of Olympic flame's tour would be by security van". Daily Mail.
- "London 2012: Cumbria Olympic torch relay route revealed". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Olympic torch to lap Brands Hatch this summer!". BrandsHatch. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Essex Olympic torch relay route details revealed". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- Sale, Charles (16 March 2012). "Charles Sale: Cheltenham security rein in Leicester's St Ledger". Mail Online. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Olympic flame to zip-wire from Tyne Bridge in Newcastle". BBC News. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Olympic torch to ride Derbyshire cable car during relay". BBC News. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "London 2012: Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge hosts torch relay". BBC News. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Footballer Jade Bailey, who travelled with the Olympic Torch in a speedboat driven by David Beckham, was among dozens of Waltham Forest residents who starred in the opening ceremony.". Waltham Forest Guardian. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "David Beckham did drive the speed boat during ceremony". BBC. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2012 Summer Olympics torch relay.|
- Official website
- Full-screen interactive map based on OpenStreetMap
- Torch relay's GPS route taken from the BBC's tracking feed