London announces plans for 8,000-mile Olympic torch relay

Chris Chase
May 18, 2011

Organizers of the 2012 London Olympics released initial plans Wednesday for the 8,000 mile torch relay that will carry the Olympic flame throughout the United Kingdom prior to the start of next year's Summer Games.

After being lit in ancient Olympia exactly one year from today, the flame will travel to the U.K., where it will start its national tour in Land's End, Cornwall, a city on the southwestern tip of the British mainland. From there it will travel 12 hours a day for 70 days until it reaches Olympic Stadium on the evening of July 12, 2012.

Wednesday's announcement listed 74 cities that the torch will pass through including Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford. Other cities will be announced in the coming months.

The flame will be carried by 8,000 torchbearers  half of whom are expected to be between the ages of 12 and 24. Organizers say that the relay will come within a one-hour drive of 95 percent of the U.K. population.

The U.K.-centric relay marks the first time since 2000 that the Olympic flame won't go around the globe. Beijing's torch relay went to six continents and traveled over 85,000 miles.

Meanwhile, that mascot gets creepier by the day.