London 2012 Olympics torch lit in ancient Olympia

Greek actress Ino Menegaki (R) playing the role of High Priestess, lights the Olympic flame during a dress rehearsal for the torch lighting ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the site of ancient Olympia in Greece. (Reuters)

The flame that will burn during the London Games was lit at the birthplace of the Ancient Olympics on Thursday.

An actress, dressed as a high priestess used a concave mirror to focus the sun’s rays and light a torch. Under the bright sunny skies, there was no need for the backup flame that was used during the final rehearsal for the Olympic torch lightening a day earlier.

After the end of a choreographed ceremony, the priestess will hand over the torch to the first torchbearer, Greek swimmer and Olympic silver medalist Spyros Gianniotis.

Gianniotis is the first in a line of 490 torchbearers to carry the flame across 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) on Greek soil before the flame will handed over to the London Games organizers on May 17 in Athens’ Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern games were staged in 1896.

In contrast to the two previous Summer Games, where the Olympic flame relay went around the globe, it will leave the UK only once, to pass though Dublin on June 6.

The Olympic Games run from July 27 to Aug. 12

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