Ainslie to kick off relay in Britain

10 May 2012 / 16:24

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie has been confirmed as the first torchbearer for the Olympic Torch Relay around Britain.

Ainslie will start the 70-day relay at Land's End on May 19 and will be the first of 8,000 torchbearers as it visits towns and cities throughout the country.

The 35-year-old, who won gold medals in Sydney, Athens and Beijing, said: "I am extremely honoured to be the first torchbearer at the start of the 70-day Olympic Torch Relay.

"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."

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe was pleased to announce Ainslie as the first torchbearer, while it was also revealed that cyclist Sir Chris Hoy will run with the torch through Manchester.

"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," said Lord Coe.

"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."

The planned route for the relay has long been in place and the torch will come within 10 miles of 95% of the population before entering the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony on July 27.