"For the first time we get to hear some of the inspirational stories of the teams and individuals that have been selected to carry the Paralympic Flame."
The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announced the first 332 people who have been chosen to carry the Paralympic Flame as Torchbearers in the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay on Tuesday (15 May).
The majority of the Torchbearers announced were successful through the public nomination campaigns run by BT, Lloyds TSB and Sainsbury’s, as well as those chosen by the British Paralympic Association. They all sought to find teams and individuals from across the UK who have demonstrated the Paralympic values of courage, determination, equality and inspiration.
Three of the teams had a taste of what it will be like to be a Torchbearer in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday, where the English Flame will be lit on 24 August at the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay celebrations.
They got to hold the Paralympic Torch for the first time and wear the uniform which was designed by LOCOG in association with London 2012’s official sportswear provider, Adidas, which will be worn by all Paralympic Torchbearers.
The teams included:
• A team from Hackney that was nominated through the BT public nomination campaign for their passion, dedication and long term commitment to coaching a range of sports to aspiring disabled children.
• A team of people from around the UK that was nominated through the Lloyds TSB public nomination campaign for their work in disability arts.
• A team of parents and children connected with Stepping Stones Down Syndrome Support Group in Surrey who were nominated through the Sainsbury’s public nomination campaign.
Seb Coe, Chairman of LOCOG, said: “Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate someone in one of the three campaigns. For the first time we get to hear some of the inspirational stories of the teams and individuals that have been selected to carry the Paralympic Flame. Whether they have been together for years or have been brought together around a common story, they have all demonstrated how they are living the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality.”
Five hundred eighty of the selected Torchbearers will light the way to the Paralympic Games by carrying the Paralympic Flame as part of one of 116 teams of five who will take it on its 24-hour overnight journey from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony.
The remaining 40 Torchbearers will carry the Flame at the three Flame Festivals and at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony. They have now been confirmed as taking place in the following locations:
• 25 August – Belfast – City Hall
• 26 August - Edinburgh – Inverleith Park
• 27 August - Cardiff – Roald Dahl Plass
• 28 August - Stoke Mandeville – Stoke Mandeville Stadium
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Hearing the inspirational stories of these lucky torchbearers is a fantastic way to bring the Paralympic Games to life for the millions of fans who are eagerly awaiting this sporting spectacular.
"The excitement surrounding the Games will be at a high when the Paralympic Torch Relay kicks off in the capital, and it will be yet another opportunity for spectators to soak up the atmosphere and reserve a space at the heart of the action.”
As part of a new concept for the Paralympic Torch Relay, a Flame will be lit in London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff, using the energy of physical human endeavour. The four Flames will be united at the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony at Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympic Movement to create the London 2012 Paralympic Flame.