My bet on the possible Olympic torch route through Hammersmith
15th February 2011
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The Olympic flame arrives in this country 18th May 2012 and will be carried around Britain by 8,000 runners, the majority of them under 25 years old. The competition for bearers of the Eternal Flame will be intense. The gift of places is one of the privileges bestowed on sponsors of the Olympic Movement.  So, that's the likes of McDonalds, Coke, Panasonic, Visa, Samsung etc. If you are keen to carry the torch, approach the PR departments of these organisations. 


The route is Britain only. The flame is kindled in Olympia in Southern Greece, and (I guess) flown here. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) were so dismayed by the anti-China pro-Tibet demos in 2008 - the Games are supposed to celebrate the fraternity of nations after all - so, for 2012, they've restricted the route to within Britain's shores.


Designing the route the flame will take, would be a real hoot.


The flame must past through British cities and every British site with an Olympic connotation. So that can include any of the great British football stadiums where the soccer heats will play out, or Weymouth for the sailing, or Rugby School in the Cotswolds where gentlemanly sport is supposed to have started and so on and so on.


E'en as we speak the route is being worked on by LOCOG (The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games); every host city has its '-OCOG' - Rio 2016 will already have ROCOG.


Once the flame arrives in London its 'musts' are the four World Heritage Sites - Tower of London, Parliament Square, Kew Gardens and Greenwich for our awesome maritime heritage. Then the three London Olympiad sites - White City 1908, Wembley 1948, and finally - arriving on the evening of Friday 27th July - in the new Olympic Stadium in Stratford East London.


(Who will be the torch bearer for that final stretch is another great imponderable. Such an honour!)


Now the even more spectacular news is, we here in Hammersmith have to be on the route of the Eternal Flame! LBHF is the host Olympic borough from 1908. So (now I'm really guessing), Hammersmith and our stretch of the river will provide a handy cut-along, because we are half way between Wembley and Kew Gardens.


My bet is, late July, the torch will arrive in London from the west; it will pass through Kew Gardens and come our way.


Probably it crosses the Thames at Kew Bridge, then runs along the river - that stretch of the Thames which is famed for the annual University Boat Race: a London sporting event that represents why we Brits are so brilliant at Olympic rowing. Then the torch bearer turns inland at Hammersmith Bridge and heads up Shepherds Bush Road, to Wood Lane for the site of the now vanished White City Stadium (1908).  


Finally, north to Wembley. And beyond.


That's me ha'penny worth. I lead a fun walking tour of the 1908 Olympic site. If you'd like to know more about the world's greatest sporting jamouree passing through our neck of the woods, then drop me an email, get the gang out, and we'll snoop out a great bit of local Hammersmith history.





About the Author

Simon R

Member since: 7th May 2011

I have lived and worked and guided in Hammersmith and Fulham for 30 years, and can introduce you to the must-see sights and also take you well off the beaten track. Come and let's have a good laugh together.

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