Opening Ceremony 2012: Torch Relay Highlights and Lowlights

Scott Bischoff@@Bischoff_ScottCorrespondent IIJuly 26, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Prince William,  Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry watch Wai-Ming hand over the London 2012 Olympic Torch to John Hulse during a visit to Buckingham Palace during Day 69 of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay on July 26, 2012 in London, England. The Olympic flame is making its way through the capital on the penultimate day of its journey around the UK before arriving in the Olympic Stadium on Friday evening for the Olympic games' Opening Ceremony.  (Photo by Ian West - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Olympic torch relay plays a significant role in starting the Olympic Games, and there are always highs and lows that come with the running of the relay. The lit torch gets transported across parts of the world to the final Olympic destination. It arrives for the Opening Ceremony where the torch will light the all-important Olympic flame.

The Olympic flame is an international symbol of peace and brotherhood that stays lit during the entire Olympic Games. It is a monumental reminder that everything else is on hold, and the primary focus is on the competition and the athletes. The Olympic flame tells a visible message, one of hope and possibility, and that message goes out to the entire world.

The Olympic flame’s journey started at the original site of the Olympic Games at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece on May 12, 2012. The torch spent a week traveling around Greece, and on May 18 it was flown to Cornwall, England. The flame stayed lit during the flight.

On May 19, the torch started the 70-day journey to London for the 2012 Olympic Games. The London area is steeped in tradition, and the sites that the torch will go to are incredible. There is history everywhere in this part of the world, and there is no shortage of incredible people to carry the torch.

Over 8000 inspirational people will carry the torch as it goes across the United Kingdom. Over 10 million people will view the torch as it makes its way to London on July 27. London has been home to the Olympics on three occasions, in 1908, 1948 and now in 2012.

There are small villages everywhere, and it is a highlight for all of those who will come out to see the torch as it passes through their home. It is an understatement to say that the highlight of the Olympic torch relay has been in and around these small villages, and for people who live in them.

There are a few things that stand out as incredible moments during the relay. On July 26, it will pass by many landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, 10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace. Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, will greet the torch.

Another highlight came at White City, the site of the 1908 Olympics as Sir Bruce Forsyth appeared with the torch. On July 10, the torch visited the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle.

There have been a few problems as well, mostly with individuals trying to interfere with the process of moving the torch. As the torch was moving through Derry, protesters blocked the planned route of the torch and forced security officials to re-route the torch.

Security saw a man in the crowd in Headingley with a bucket of water. They tackled him to the ground before he could attempt to extinguish the flame.

Police arrested a male streaker on July 10, after running in front of the torch as it was passing through Henley-on-Thames. Also, police arrested a 17-year-old boy for trying to grab the torch in Gravesend, Kent. There were no injuries, and the torch continued on the journey to London.

There have been a few mishaps with the torch. Torch carriers accidentally extinguished the flame while on a white water raft at the Lee Valley Games Venue in Waltham Cross on Saturday, July 7. Also, a 13-year-old torch carrier who lost part of his left leg from Ewing’s Sarcoma fell while carrying the torch through Bishop Auckland. Security officials helped him to his feet.

The flame has been to some amazing parts of the UK, and people have flocked to see it. All that remains for the torch is the short trip to the Opening Ceremony in London on Friday, July 27.