Olympic torch relay to take in Dublin next summer
Sporting chiefs are to break tradition and allow the Olympic flame to travel outside the UK into the Republic of Ireland ahead of the London games.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to sign off on plans to take the torch to Dublin on June 6.
It is understood organisers are planning a major mid-morning city centre celebration to mark the historic event.
In Dublin”s fair city… the Olympic torch relay is heading for Ireland
The arrival of the Olympic flame in Dublin will be seen as a major coup for Irish sporting chiefs as the torch does not normally travel outside the host country in the lead-up to the games.
Meanwhile, the first group of torchbearers who will carry the flame at next year”s games are to be unveiled to the public.
A handful of the 8,000 torchbearers, who will carry the flame 8,000 miles around the UK, will be introduced to media in events around the country.
Twelve people, who have received conditional offers, will join Sebastian Coe, chairman of Locog, the Games organising committee, at an event in east London.
More torchbearers will be introduced in 11 similar events across the country.
London calling: The Games will begin on July 27 next year
On parts of the journey the flame will go via horseback, bicycle, tram and steam train.
Organisers said the torch will go through 1,018 villages, towns and cities and will be within an hour”s journey of 95 per cent of the UK population.
The relay will take in hundreds of landmarks including Snowdon, Stormont, Loch Ness and Stonehenge.
Locog said the route will showcase and celebrate the diversity of the UK and give people a chance to “connect” with the Games.
Torchbearers are picked because of a “personal achievement” or contribution to their local community.
On the final day of the relay, July 27, Locog expects the flame to travel down the River Thames making its way to the Olympic Stadium for the lighting of the cauldron at the opening ceremony, signifying the Games” official start.