May 17 - The flame for the London Olympics is handed over to Britain's Princess Anne at the ancient stadium that hosted first modern Olympics. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Story: The flame for the London Olympics, which start on July 27 after a 70-day torch relay around Britain, was handed over on Thursday at a damp ceremony in the marble stadium that hosted the first modern Games in 1896. The flame, lit from the sun's rays at the home of the ancient Games in Olympia a week ago, was presented under gray and rainy skies to Britain's Princess Anne by the president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Spyros Capralos. Transferred to a small lantern by golden torch from a cauldron, it will be guarded overnight in the British embassy in Athens. It will then be flown on 'Flight 2012', a British Airways Airbus 319 called 'Firefly', to a naval air base in south-west England on Friday before the relay starts at Land's End the following morning. England soccer captain David Beckham, will travel with the flame on Friday and is strongly tipped to be part of the first British soccer team since 1960 at the Games. The relay will travel 12,800 km around Britain and Ireland, taking in 1,018 villages and the 1,085-meter summit of Snowdon, before culminating with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron in the new stadium in east London. Greek president Karolos Papoulias, whose debt-stricken country risks bankruptcy and an exit from the European single currency, also attended the ceremony after naming a caretaker Prime Minister in an emergency government on Wednesday to lead Greece to new elections next month. Greek rowing world champion Christina Giazitzidou carried the flame into the stadium, built in 330BC and reconstructed for 1896, with a branch from what is claimed to be the oldest olive tree in the world in her other hand. As she entered, as if by celestial command, the rain eased and the sun tried to break through the cloud. The final two torchbearers were Greek weightlifter Pyrros Dimas and Chinese gymnast Li Ning, who lit the cauldron at the 2008 Beijing Games, running together with the torch. Cries of 'Hellas, Hellas' went up from the crowd as the cauldron in the centre of the stadium was lit and five white doves were released by school children.