2012 Summer Paralympics torch relay

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The 2012 Summer Paralympics torch relay ran from 22 to 29 August 2012, prior to the 2012 Summer Paralympics. The relay began with four flames kindled on the highest peaks of the four nations of the United Kingdom, which were then brought to their respective capital cities for special events honouring the upcoming Games. For the relay proper, the four national flames were united at a ceremony in Stoke Mandeville in preparation for a final 92-mile (148-kilometre) journey to London.[1]

Relay[edit]

Journey to Stoke Mandeville[edit]

The Paralympic torch relay began on 22 August. In a ceremony representing human endeavour, groups of disabled and non-disabled scouts kindled the four Paralympic flames on the highest peaks of each nation of the United Kingdom; Scafell Pike in England, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland, and Snowdon in Wales. The four flames were then brought down from each peak in lanterns. On 24 August the flames were used to light ceremonial cauldrons in their respective capital cities (London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff) during "Flame Festival" events. A total of 38 towns and cities also hosted "Flame Celebration" events over the bank holiday weekend, where community representatives collected a part of their nation's flame to bring back for their respective events.[2][3][4]

Journey to London[edit]

Ann Wild, a British Paralympian, with the torch.

On 28 August a ceremony was held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, in honour of Stoke Mandeville's significance to the Paralympic movement, where the four national flames were united in a cauldron at precisely 8:12 pm (20:12) to form a single flame for the relay. The four flames were brought into the stadium by dignitaries, including English model Katie Piper (who began to campaign for burns victims after having acid thrown in her face in 2009)[5] and Scottish amateur boxer Jonjo Look (who had a leg amputated and replaced by a prosthesis following an accident filling a gas canister).[6][7]

The flame travelled a 92-mile (148-kilometre) route to the Olympic Stadium in a 24-hour relay, with 580 torchbearers working in teams of five. It travelled through iconic areas of London such as Abbey Road and London Zoo.[2] Poor weather caused a two-hour delay on the Wednesday before the Games; parts of the route were modified to help ensure it would reach the stadium in time, while a backup flame was taken straight to the stadium as a contingency.[8] However, as the opening ceremony's parade of nations took longer than expected, the flame was able to arrive at Olympic Stadium in time.[9]

End of relay[edit]

The final three torchbearers represented three generations of Paralympic athletes. The torch entered the Olympic Stadium via a zipline attached to ArcelorMittal Orbit, carried by Joe Townsend, a former Royal Marine with amputated legs. Townsend represented the future as an athlete planning to compete in 2016 Summer Paralympics. He passed the torch to David Clarke, long-time captain of Britain's Five-a-side football team, representing the present. With his guide, Clarke passed the torch to Margaret Maughan, the winner of Great Britain's first gold medal at the 1960 Summer Paralympics, representing the past.[9]

The Torches[edit]

The Paralympic torch was designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who had also designed the Summer Olympic torch. It was intended to have a "modern" and "innovative" look, and was constructed with an aluminium alloy skin that is perforated to help with heat dissipation and grip. The torch also had a reflective finish, allowing it to match its surroundings and provide better visibility at night.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ceremonies - The Torch Relay - The Paralympic Torch Relay". LOCOG. 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "London 2012: Scouts to spark Paralympic flame". BBC News. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Taylor, Jerome (15 August 2012). "Mountain cauldrons will spark Paralympic torch relay". The Independent (London). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Williams, Tim (22 August 2012). "Paralympics 2012: flames lit across Britain at the start of Paralympic torch relay celebrations". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Burke, Myles (20 October 2009). "Acid attack model talks about recovery". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  6. ^ "Boxer Jonjo Look back in ring after losing lower leg". BBC News. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Ward, Victoria (28 August 2012). "Four Paralympic flames united at Stoke Mandeville". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Paralympics 2012: Backup torch is lit after delays cause fears that flame won't make opening ceremony on time". The Daily Telegraph (London). 29 August 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Gibson, Owen (30 August 2012). "Paralympics 2012 opening ceremony: Games launched on a storm of ideas". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 August 2012. 

External links[edit]