Symbolism is an important part of the Olympic Games, and as well as the five rings that symbolise the five continents of the world and their peoples who are invited once every four years to compete, there is also the symbolism of fire which the Ancient Greeks believed was given to mankind by Prometheus and thought to be sacred.
The flames of a torch, lit by mirrors reflecting the suns rays, would burn perpetually in front of Greek temples, and Greek rituals also included torch relays, although these were never part of the ancient Olympic Games. In the modern era the first use of the Olympic flame was at the Berlin Games of 1936, which was carried in a relay by 3,300 torch bearers overland from Greece, through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and finally into Germany and to the Olympic Stadium where a cauldron was lit that remained burning until the closing ceremony.
The torch relay for the 2012 London Olympics starts at Lands End on Saturday 19th May and will travel 8,000 miles in the hands of 8,000 torch bearers who have been entrusted to carry it safely all around Britain until it finally arrives at the Olympic Stadium at Stratford in London on Friday 27th July for the opening ceremony.
Honour It will be an honour and a privilege for each and every torch bearer (like John Glover already mentioned on page two) to be part of this magnificent and historic journey and in the last few days we have received the news that inspirational Blind Dave Heeley has been selected to run a 300 metre leg, and he is absolutely over the moon. He told us: "It's an incredible feeling to be part of the Olympic story and I feel as proud as punch. I will be an early riser on Thursday 31st May as I will be carrying the flame at approximately 7.15am, yes breakfast time, and I'll be in The Potteries.
My route is along the Waterloo Road (A50), near Douglas Street to Greyhound Way, Cobridge, Stoke, and I reckon it might be the slowest 300 metres I'll ever do; you have to let the enormity of the whole experience sink in and 300 metres isn't a very long way.
“I'll be in the Potteries but I'll be running as a Black Country mon through and through."