Saturday, 2 June 2012

Olympic Torch Relay....... again!!!

So over here we did concentrate a little on the circus (and cynicism - who me?) of the Olympic Torch Relay but to help redress the balance, I was fortunate enough to see the Torch again on Day 14 as it made its way through Birkenhead and onward to it's next adventure - a Mersey Ferry!! 
The 'next runner being briefed!

Here comes the flame!!

8000 different runners will carry the Olympic Torch on it's 70 day relay journey. 

So as well as Olympians and sportsman, past, present and future, there are local, famous/infamous celebrities and media personnel. In this group are many household names from sport and showbiz, the likes of Doctor Who, I kid you not!! Comedian John Bishop who took the flame to the top of Jodrell Bank and the Radio City tower in Liverpool. Mel C, former Spice Girl, who carried it through Birkenhead Park and who I saw sitting on the bus right in front of me and who represents for me as a photographer a mega fail!! 
Now be honest you didn't expect me to put my mega fail here did you?
The little girl and her Mum to the right are looking at Mel C!

The whole country/world probably knows that David Beckham accompaniedthe flame from Mount Olympus to Cornwall. Chris Bonnington, mountaineer, took it to the top of Snowdon in North Wales and the list is of course endless.
To explain briefly the torch is the flame that is lit from a cauldron each morning and gets carried as in a relay through all the local communities. 
Occasionally the flame gets put back in to a little lantern to go through a lot of the more rural areas but also to go, as a remote flame from the torch to certain other places, like the top of Snowdon or on a train or plane or ferry. At the end of its day a cauldron is lit in its finishing location and people party all night, with the Olympic flame burning brightly!! 
This torch relay and all the flames adventures will end at a precise time, provided that the organizers have done their sums right, when the final torch carrier lights the flame in the Olympic Stadium as part of the opening ceremony of the Olympics 2012 London!! 
Through the local communities however it is for the most part "Community Champions". These are the real people that the majority of people see carrying the torch, not the lantern. Local heroes in the truest sense of the words. People from within the communities that they serve and have been nominated from fellow members of the community. 
Maybe they are scout leaders or fund raisers, have shown great courage or spirit, the list is as endless as the more well known celebrity!
The Torch Relay is about these people and is about 'local' people in 'local' communities getting involved bringing 'local' pride to communities that would otherwise be untouched by the International Olympic movement.
Some people only carry it for a short distance, others longer but the commonality is immense pride, running and holding the torch aloft through their own communities! 

And off we go.... when we've extinguished his hair! 

Yeah yeah I know the bus that Mel C was on!!
The changeover of the torch is an emotional moment for everyone concerned. The torches 'kiss' as one gas canister, like cigarette lighters inside the torch itself, is turned on and the other turned off. The finished runner gets back in to the support bus and then it is the moment for the new runner to take up the baton, torch, and run their allocated distance flanked by 6 or 8 identically clad members of The Metropolitan Police.
This is the BBC site where any queries that you still may have - hey come on I'm a photographer first, writer second - can be answered including the torches schedule, history and live cam if available in your part of the world.
A fantastic opportunity all in all to wave some flags and share some national pride and of course to be involved in your community in the whole Olympic Games that are of course taking place in London.

"Personally I don't know what all the fuss is about!"

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