Swimmer Spyros Gianniotis (GRE) will be the first torchbearer

London 2012 Highlights

Spyros GIANNIOTIS (GRE), gold at the 10km race in Shanghai 2011 - credit: Giorgio Scala/FINA10km open water swimming world champion Spyros Gianniotis (GRE) will have the honour of being the first torchbearer of the Olympic flame for the 2012 Olympic Games in London (GBR). On the traditional ceremony, to be held in Ancient Olympia, on May 10, Gianniotis will receive the flame from the High Priestess, after it has been lit by the sun’s rays, and will initiate the 3000km relay of the flame within Greece.

In an announcement made by the Hellenic Olympic Committee, it was also revealed that the flame will be passing through 43 cities in the country where the Olympic Games were born, and will be carried by approximately 500 torchbearers. After a final ceremony on May 17 in the Panathinaiko Stadium in Athens (where were held the first modern Games, in 1896), the flame will be given to the LOCOG delegation before flying to Great Britain.

Gianniotis, whose mother is British, earned the gold medal at the FINA World Championships 2011 10km open water swimming event, precisely the distance that is included in the programme of the Games. Also an experienced pool swimmer, London 2012 will be the fourth Olympics for the Greek champion (aged 32).