Ben Ainslie to be first Torchbearer for the Olympic Torch Relay

by RYA 
Ben Ainslie
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has now confirmed that the first Torchbearer for the Olympic Torch Relay - presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung - will be 3-time Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie CBE.

Ben will start the 70-day Relay at the Land’s End Landmark signpost at 7.08am on 19 May. He grew up in Cornwall and won Gold medals in Sailing at the Beijing, Athens and Sydney Olympic Games. He also won a Silver medal at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

Ben said (draft): 'I am extremely honoured to be the first Torchbearer at the start of the Olympic Torch Relay. It will be an amazing experience to be able to carry the Olympic Flame in the area that I grew up in, with my friends and family there to cheer me on.

'I also want to congratulate the thousands of other inspirational people who will carry the Torch this summer and bring the excitement of the Games to streets throughout the UK.'

Seb Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: 'Ben is the perfect person to start the Relay in Land’s End as he grew up in the area and is an inspirational sportsman who has worked hard to achieve his goals.

'He will kick off what will be an amazing celebration of people and places from all over the UK in the run up to the Olympics Games this summer.'

Ben is one of 8,000 Torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Flame during the Relay. At Land’s End he will pass the Flame to 18-year-old Anastasia Swallow, a Torchbearer from the Coca-Cola nomination campaign.

The other Torchbearers at Land’s End will be: Eric Smith, 76, who was nominated through the LOCOG campaign, Victoria Smith, 16, who was nominated through the Lloyds TSB campaign and Stephen Brady, 59, who was nominated through the Samsung campaign.

On leaving Land’s End, the Olympic Flame will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK giving thousands of communities and individuals their moment to shine as the Olympic Flame comes to a place near them.

Some of the other inspirational people from the world of sailing who have been selected to carry the torch include:

- 1964 Olympic silver medallist - Keith Musto
- RYA Performance Squad sailor - Katrina Hughes
- Volunteer - Luke McGill
- Paralympic hopeful - Blaire Hannan
- Paralympic GB sailor – Alex Rickham
- OnBoard volunteer – Margaret Hyde
- RYA Young volunteer of the Year award winner – Aaron Reynolds

With more inspirational sailing torch bearers still to be announced.

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