London 2012 opening ceremony build-up revealed
London 2012 organisers give a glimpse of the final hours before the Olympic opening ceremony next year
Bells will ring out across the United Kingdom to mark the final few hours until the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.
Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed is behind project that he hopes will see thousands participate at 8.30am on 27 July.
Organisers have also taken the decision to move the Olympic flame off London’s busy roads – easing the pressure on Police and congestion – in the hours before the opening, which is expected to be watched by a global audience of over five billion people.
The flame will travel on the River Thames to City Hall, where it will remain until the opening ceremony commences at 9pm.
At that point it will start its final journey, again by water, arriving at the Olympic Stadium for the cauldron lighting, the showpiece moment, shortly before midnight.
However, Locog’s head of ceremonies Martin Green, speaking to reporters at the final World Press Briefing, would not be drawn on more specific elements of the ceremony, which is being devised by West End and Broadway theatre legend Stephen Daldry and Oscar winning director Danny Boyle.
How and who lights the Olympic cauldron is expected to be one of the big talking points in the build-up to the Games.
The towering Orbit, the 115 metre structure that sits adjacent to the Olympic Stadium, is seen as a possible site of the cauldron while five-time Olympic champion Sir Steve Redgrave and athletics legend Daley Thompson remain the bookmakers favourites to ignite it.
The Olympic flame will be kindled in Olympia and then be carried on a seven-day relay around Greece, the birthplace of the Games, which will culminate in a handover ceremony to London organisers at the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens, the venue for the first modern Games in 1896.
It will then travel by plane to the UK and the relay will start on Saturday May 19th at the southern tip of the UK mainland at Land’s End in Cornwall.
Green also revealed Locog were close to finalising the 8,000 runners who will carry the flame after a nationwide nomination process run by the organising committee and official sponsors Lloyds TSB, Coca-Cola and Samsung.
Having named the first 74 locations for the torch relay earlier this year, 900 village, towns and spots of outstanding natural beauty or national significance will be confirmed in the coming weeks.