The build-up to this summers Olympic games in London gained a little more heat on Thursday as the Olympic flame was officially handed over to a British delegation before its 70-day relay of the Great Britain.
The Princess Royal, Lord Sebastian Coe, London Mayor Boris Johnson and David Beckham were among those attending the damp ceremony at the iconic Panathinaic Stadium in Athens – the legendary arena that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
The flame was lit on May 10 at another ceremony at the Temple of Hera in Olympia before being carried through Greece by 500 torchbearers on a week-long route.
After spending Thursday night at the British embassy in Athens, the flame will be flown to the UK where on Saturday at Land’s End – England’s most south westerly point – it begins it’s 8 000 mile trip around the UK by 8 000 bearers.
According to officials the flame will travel to within ten miles of 95 per cent of people in the UK, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey before lighting up the cauldron in Stratford’s Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony on 27 July.
Although the final torch bearer remains a closely guarded secret.