The Olympic Torch Relay in Wimbledon and Merton
The Ancient Games
The Torch and Relay were important elements of the cultural festivals surrounding the Olympic Games of Ancient Greece.
During the Games, a sacred flame burned continually on the altar of the goddess, Hera. In addition, heralds were summoned to travel throughout Greece to announce the Games, declaring a sacred truce for the duration.
The Olympic Torch Relay
Lit in Greece, the Olympic Flame arrived in the UK on 18 May 2012 before setting out the next day on a 70-day Olympic Torch Relay, bringing the excitement of the Games to everyone.
The Olympic Flame stands for peace, unity and friendship. It will be carried by 8,000 truly inspirational Torchbearers.
Where is the Olympic Flame going?
The Olympic Flame will travel to within an hour of 95 per cent of people in the UK, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey during the 70-day Torch Relay. It will enable local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer.
The towns and cities hosting evening celebrations, the island visits, and all of the communities on route are displayed on the Olympic Torch Relay map
Lighting the Flame
A very precise ritual for the lighting of the Flame is followed at every Games. It is lit from the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional ceremony among the ruins of the home of the Ancient Games.
After a short relay around Greece, the Flame is handed over to the new Host City at another ceremony in the Panathenaiko stadium in Athens.
The Flame is then delivered to the Host Country, where it is transferred from one Torchbearer to another, spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship.
It ends its journey as the last Torchbearer lights the Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, marking the official start of the Games. The Flame then stays lit until it is put outat the Closing Ceremony, signifying the end of the Games.
The Olympic Torch relay in Wimbledon and Merton
The Olympic torch will arrive in the London Borough of Merton on the afternoon of 23rd July, having made its way, on Day 66 of the torch relay, through Lewisham, Bromley, Croydon and Sutton.
The torch will then leave Merton and progress through Wandsworth where there will be the evening celebration for Day 66 on Tooting Bec Common.
Merton is encouraging members of the public to come and line the route in much the same way as the London Marathon takes place annually. There are a number of locations along the route for local community organisations and individuals to perform and add the Merton flavour to the day.
There are also four afternoon picnic type events planned once the torch has passed through each area. Those areas are:
Olympic & Paralympic Dressing of Merton
The majority of the ‘Olympic Dressing’ will be in the form of banners, hung from lamp posts in the following areas:
The two town centres of Mitcham and Morden will also have temporary floor vinyls representing sporting challenges (e.g. long jump) and uplighters will be installed to light up the sides of the Civic Centre in Morden and during the Olympics & Paralympic Games these will be used to project the respective logos on to the building.
Wimbledon town centre will be dressed by London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) as it is the area through which spectators will pass on their way to the Olympic Tennis Venue at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC).
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