London 2012: Ainslie to be first Olympic flame torchbearer in UK
Sailor Ben Ainslie will be the first torchbearer to carry the Olympic flame when it arrives in the UK next week
Ben Ainslie obviously wants to be first at this summer’s Olympics.
He was the first athlete to be named on Team GB, is aiming to be the first British sailor to win four gold medals and will now be the first torchbearer when the Olympic flame reaches the United Kingdom.
Ainslie will receive the flame at the Land’s End landmark signpost just after 0700BST on 19 May, a nod to his Cornwall roots and his status as one of Britain’s most successful Olympians. He has also been tipped to carry the British flag at the opening ceremony.
“I am extremely honoured to be the first torchbearer at the start the 70-day Olympic torch relay,” he said.
“It will be an amazing experience to be able to carry the Olympic flame in the area that I grew up in.
“I also want to congratulate the thousands of other inspirational people who will carry the torch this summer and bring the excitement of the Games to streets throughout the UK.”
The Olympic flame was lit in Olympia today and will spend the next eight days travelling around Greece before departing Athens next week.
London 2012 chairman Seb Coe, who watched the symbolic lighting ceremony at the ancient Temple of Hera, claimed Ainslie was the ideal choice to be the first runner to carry the flame in the UK.
“Ben is the perfect person to start the relay in Land’s End as he grew up in the area and is an inspirational sportsman who has worked hard to achieve his goals,” he said.
“He will kick off what will be an amazing celebration of people and places from all over the UK in the run up to the Olympics Games this summer.”
© Sportsbeat 2012