London 2012: Olympic flame Dublin visit gets the green light
The London 2012 Olympic torch will visit Dublin and the first 12 runners on the 70-day relay have been revealed
London 2012 officials have confirmed the Olympic flame will visit Dublin next summer on the day they also revealed its first torchbearers.
The International Olympic Committee had to sanction the flame crossing the border after banning international stops on the relay following the protests that marred its global journey ahead of the Beijing Games.
However, given the proximity of the flame to the Republic of Ireland, a symbolic visit has been now arranged to highlight the peace process and the shared heritage of those north and south of the border.
“We are delighted to be taking the Olympic flame to Dublin on the morning of 6 June,” said London 2012 chairman Seb Coe.
“This is a historic opportunity to showcase the wealth of sporting talent from across the Republic of Ireland ahead of the competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“I would like to thank the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland, Her Majesty’s Government, the Government of the Republic of Ireland, the Olympic Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council for developing the proposal with us.”
Meanwhile, organisers Locog have revealed the first 12 torchbearers that will run with the flame next summer.
After a public nomination process run by the organising committee and relay sponsors Lloyds TSB, Samsung and Coca-Cola, 6,800 conditional offer letters have now been posted.
Just over 8,000 will run with the torch, an average of 115 a day, as it makes its 70-day journey around the UK to the opening ceremony on 27 July.
Among the first dozen runners confirmed are 84-year-old Moira Starkey, who completed her first fundraising marathon aged 83 by doing laps of her village hall, and 20-year-old Matt Short, who set up a charity to research the rare form of bone cancer he was diagnosed with in 2007.
Also revealed as a torchbearer is former soldier Simon Brown, 32, who now helps people come to terms with losing their sight after he was blinded while serving in Iraq and London community worker Darwin Bernado.
“We are one step closer to giving thousands of people their moment to shine during the Olympic torch relay next summer,” added Coe.
“The sum of the individual stories of our torchbearers will show the world that the Olympic spirit is alive and well right across the UK.”