British athletes spearhead London leg of torch relay

Associated Press

London, May 5:

Some of Britain’s best known athletes, including Roger Bannister, Steve Redgrave, Tim Henman and Sally Gunnell, are among 140 torch bearers who will carry the Olympic Flame through London. The torch will travel through London on June 26, returning for the first time since the British capital hosted the games in 1948. London is the 21st city on the round-the-world torch relay route before the start of the Athens Olympics on Aug. 13.

Athletes, both current and retired, celebrities and ordinary Britons will carry the flame. The relay will start at Centre Court at Wimbledon on the middle Saturday of the tournament. The torch will then follow a 48-kilometre route through the capital before reaching The Mall where a cauldron will be lit. Bannister, 75, is one of the oldest torch bearers. He was the first man to break the four-minute mile in 1954. Gunnell once held the world record and Olympic, world and European titles in the 400-metre hurdles.

Redgrave won five Olympic rowing medals, and Henman is a four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist. Other former athletes running include ex-England cricket captain Ian Botham, boxer Frank Bruno, triple jump great Jonathan Edwards and hurdler Colin Jackson. Current athletes include cyclist Chris Boardman, rower Matthew Pinsent, equestrian rider Pippa Funnell and boxer Audley Harrison. Celebrities running include Heather Mills McCartney, the wife of Beatles singer Paul McCartney.