Flame will make round-Britain tour

17 May 2012 / 08:45

The Olympic Flame will be on a very different journey to London than when it was last there for the 1948 Games.

It will be guest of honour on board a gold-liveried Airbus 319, flight number BA2012, taking it from Athens to Britain.

British officials who travelled to the Panathenaic Stadium for the ceremonial handover, are also passengers on the specially-chartered British Airways flight.

Back in 1948, officials had ordered that the most direct route then available was to have been used from Greece.

This included a sea trip from Greece to Italy, travelling through Switzerland and France and also a sea passage to England.

Greece's current political and economic turmoil has not altered the route of the relay taken from last week's lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia. The flame has visited Crete, Piraeus, Thessalonica, Xanthi and Larissa, among other places, in a relay around the Greek mainland and islands.

It is headed to the handover ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

The British leg of the 1948 Olympic relay took the flame to Dover, Canterbury, Charing, Maidstone, Westerham, Redhill, Reigate, Dorking, Guildford, Bagshot, Ascot, Windsor, Slough, and Uxbridge.

In contrast the London 2012 Olympic torch relay will aim to take the flame with 10 miles of 95% of the population.

Three-time Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie is the first of 8,000 torchbearers who will carry it for 8,000 miles across to the start of the Games.