HRH the Princess Royal Receives Olympic Flame at Athens Ceremony

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Athens, Greece – In the final part of the Greek leg of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, the Olympic Flame was handed over to the London 2012 delegation, headed by President of the British Olympic Association and LOCOG Board Member, HRH the Princess Royal, in a ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium.

HRH the Princess Royal receives Olympic Flame at Athens Ceremony

HRH the Princess Royal receives Olympic Flame at Athens Ceremony

The Handover of the Olympic Flame is a key milestone for each Olympic Games as the Torch Relay rallies the world’s athletes to make their final preparations

The handover of the Olympic Flame concluded the 3000km, 8-day relay route around Greece.

Watched by thousands of people, in a ceremony attended by President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Karolos Papoulias and featuring addresses by President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr Spyros Capralos and Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Sebastian Coe, the Olympic Flame was handed over to Her Royal Highness, who was accompanied by five young people from across the UK.

Other highlights of the Handover Ceremony included the Olympic anthem sung by a local children, five Torchbearers carrying the Olympic Flame around the stadium, before lighting the ceremonial cauldron, a choreographed dance performance, and the five young UK representatives each being handed an olive branch by young people from Greece.

Images from the event can be downloaded here.

Spyros Capralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, said: ‘The Handover of the Olympic Flame is a key milestone for each Olympic Games as the Torch Relay rallies the world’s athletes to make their final preparations. After a fantastic eight day Torch Relay around Greece we wish London and the whole of the UK well for a successful 70 day Torch Relay and Olympic Games.’

Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said: ‘Like the Olympic Games, the Flame belongs to the world, and the arrival of the Flame in the host nation is a clarion call to the athletes and young people in more than 200 nations and territories preparing to gather for the London 2012 Games.

‘The Olympic Flame will visit every nation and region, shining a light on the people, places, communities and cultures of the United Kingdom. We have found the very best in our Torchbearers, who like Olympic athletes, will inspire a generation.’

Led by HRH the Princess Royal carrying the Olympic Flame in a lantern, Chair of LOCOG Sebastian Coe, Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, Mayor Boris Johnson, London 2012 ambassador David Beckham and the five UK youth representatives then departed the stadium for a reception at the British Ambassador’s residence, where the Olympic Flame will remain overnight, before the flight to the UK.

Dr David Landsman OBE, HM Ambassador, Athens said: ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, the Olympic Flame passes through Athens on its way to London. The handover to HRH the Princess Royal epitomises the link in both sport and values between the ancient Greek Olympic tradition and the modern Olympic Games we are excitedly looking forward to hosting.’

The Olympic Flame will be leaving Athens on Friday 18 May to arrive into the UK at RNAS Culdrose, near Helston, Cornwall at approximately 7.30pm BST.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, said: ‘The Olympic Flame will travel far and wide across the country and celebrate many local heroes, picked to be Torchbearers, who make such a positive contribution in their communities. We stand ready to welcome the world this summer and showcase the very best of Britain.’

On the morning of 19 May the Olympic Flame will then travel from RNAS Culdrose to Land’s End ready for the start of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung. The Olympic Flame will travel 8,000 miles across the UK to within 10 miles of 95% of the population. 8,000 Torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame for approximately 300 metres each, passing the Olympic Flame from torch to torch until it reaches the Olympic Stadium on the eve of 27 July.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said: ‘Receiving the Olympic Flame is a great honour. Its arrival signals the beginning of a fantastic summer for London when the world will focus on this great city to celebrate the greatest sporting extravaganza on the planet.

‘It is also the starting gun for London to harness the extraordinary opportunity the Games offer to build on the impressive legacy of new jobs and economic growth we are already delivering across the capital.’

For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office.

Notes to editors

About the Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium is located on the site of an ancient stadium and for many centuries hosted games in which athletes competed in track events and athletics championships. A creation of the Athenians, as its name proudly proclaims, the Panathenaic Stadium has been the venue for noble competition and fair play, of mind and of body, since Antiquity. The stadium was rebuilt in its present glory in preparation for the first modern Olympic Games, held in 1896. Throughout the twentieth century the Panathenaic Stadium hosted diverse events, among them pan-Hellenic and international games. In the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the stadium was the venue for the archery events and acted as the finishing line of the Marathon race.

About the Handover Ceremony:
Timings local to Greece and are subject to change

19:00pm (17:00pm BST)
Olympic Anthem; UK and Greece National Anthems; Entry of the High Priestess and Priestesses into the Stadium; Arrival of the last Torchbearers; Lighting of the cauldron; Address by the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr Spyros Capralos; Address by Sebastian Coe Chair of LOCOG; Handing over of the Olympic Flame

19:45pm (17:45pm BST)
Departure of the LOCOG representatives, carrying the Olympic Flame

About the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay:
For more information on the London 2012 Torchbearers and the streets through which they will carry the London 2012 Olympic Flame, please go to http://www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay

About the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners:

As the longest standing Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola will be using its heritage and experience to spread excitement across the UK ahead of London 2012. Coca-Cola's national nomination campaign - Future Flames – has focused on finding inspirational young people from across the country to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame. This summer Coca-Cola will celebrate these Future Flames: young people who use their passions in areas like sport and physical activity, music and dance, and community and the environment; to spread happiness in their local communities.

As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB will be taking the inspiration and excitement of the Olympic Flame right to the heart of communities across the UK. As part of Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland will be the National Presenting Partner in Scotland. We are creating as many opportunities as possible for communities the length and breadth of the UK to get involved as the Flame travels past their front doors. Lloyds TSB’s troupe of performers the Flame Followers will be travelling ahead of the Flame to excite crowds with a unique fusion of street performance, theatre and sport celebrating the endeavour, athleticism, agility and skill of Olympic sporting heroes, Team GB.

Lloyds Banking Group is Britain’s biggest corporate investor in UK communities and in 2011 invested £85 million and as part of the Group’s Community Investment Programme, we’ve launched the Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund to give back to the communities in which we operate and pass through on our journey with the Olympic Flame. We’re inviting everyone to visit the Lloyds TSB stand at each Evening Celebration to vote for a community project in their area that inspires and supports young people. By voting at the Evening Celebration members of the public will automatically enter a draw to win four tickets to London 2012. The two projects that receive the most votes at each locality will each win a £5,000 grant from Lloyds Banking Group. At the Lloyds TSB site members of the public will also have the opportunity to have their photo taken with the Olympic Torch, meet Lloyds TSB Local Heroes – the future stars of Team GB and ParalympicsGB – and get up close to our Flame Followers.

As a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Samsung aims to encourage everyone to be part of the Olympic Torch Relay to make London 2012 ‘Everyone’s Olympic Games.’ We aspire to offer new and memorable experiences for everyone around the world. Samsung is providing 1,360 Torchbearers, who have “gone the extra mile” by contributing to the local communities, through its worldwide public nomination campaign. Samsung will support towns and cities to celebrate the exciting moment of the Torch Relay and help showcase Great Britain’s cultural landmarks to provide a more enjoyable experience to everyone. The evening celebrations that will be staged in 66 towns and cities throughout the Olympic Flame’s journey across the UK, will allow Samsung to entertain the community they are visiting. The Samsung caravan, complete with LED screen on the side showcasing runners and goodwill messages, will travel with Torchbearers around the UK cheering up everyone to celebrate the Torch Relay with music and interaction with local communities. It is Samsung’s ambition that London 2012 will be an event that reaches and involves more people than on any other Olympic Games occasion.

The Supporters of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay are:
Worldwide Olympic Partners Procter and Gamble and Visa, Tier One Partners adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT and EDF, Tier Three Providers Aggreko, Holiday Inn and NATURE VALLEY.

London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow Chemical Company, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS.

There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.

There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Supplier, Otto Bock. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.

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