London Games Organizers Unveil Olympic Torch Route

Over 8,000 people will carry the torch through 8,000 mile route

Schoolchildren, charity fundraisers, war veterans and a centenarian are among 8,000 people who will carry the Olympic flame in the torch relay for the 2012 London Games.

London Games officials unveiled a street-by-street map of the 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometer) route, which begins at Land's End — the westernmost tip of England — on May 19 and includes a stop in Dublin, Ireland.

After human rights protests disrupted the international torch route before the 2008 Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee ruled that torch relays should be confined to host countries. The IOC made an exception for Ireland this year.

Most of the torchbearers are members of the public chosen for embodying community spirit, courage and athletic determination.

The volunteers, who each will cover about 300 yards (meters) include Britain's oldest full-time firefighter and a soldier who lost three of his limbs in an explosion in Afghanistan.

The youngest is 11, and the oldest is Londoner Dinah Gould, who turns 100 on May 23.

"As long as the walk is on the flat I think I'll be OK," she told the BBC.

One of the first torchbearers will be Dave Jackson, a volunteer coast guard officer from Cornwall in southwest England.

"I think it'll be a case of 'Don't drop it!' That'll be going through my mind quite a bit," he said. "'Don't start any fires.'"

While most torchbearers will walk or run, the flame will also be carried on skates, horseback, hot air balloon, whizzed on a zip wire off the Tyne Bridge in northeast England and rowed along the River Thames during its 70-day trip.

The honor of carrying the torch is a great one, but bears will have to pay if they want to take the torch home. The BBC reported on Tuesday that bearers will have an opportunity to purchase one for £199, or $315.53. If they wait until the relay to make a purchase, it'll cost them £215 or $340.90.

It's a price that has torch bearers concerned.

"I will need to think long and hard about whether or not to buy the torch," Torch bearer Thomas Read told the BBC. "It would be a great souvenir from the day, but £200 is an awful lot of money to have to pay for it."

Olympic organizers said Monday the relay will pass within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of 95 percent of Britain's population.

Details of the final two days of the torch's journey — and the names of those who will carry the flame into London's Olympic Stadium ahead of the July 27-Aug. 12 games — are being kept under wraps.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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