The flame for the London Olympics was officially handed over to the British delegation, during a ceremony held at the Panathenaic Stadium on May 17. Following the lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia on May 10 and a 2900 km torch relay around Greece, the flame was brought to the historic stadium by Chinese gymnast Li Ning, -who had lit the cauldron at the 2008 Beijing opening ceremony- and three-time Greek Olympic champion Pyrros Dimas.
The ceremony was attended by Hellenic republic President Karolos Papoulias and Britain’s Princess Anne, who received the flame by the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Kapralos.
London Games chairman and twice Olympic champion Sebastian Coe, London’s mayor Boris Johnson and English football player David Beckham also attended the ceremony. The flame was guarded overnight at the British embassy and will be flown to the UK today.
A 70-day torch relay that will travel 12,800 km around Britain will follow, culminating with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron in the Olympic Stadium on July 27, opening day for the London Olympics.