Olympics

Olympic flame heads off on UK tour

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TRURO, England

The Olympic flame began a 70-day journey around the United Kingdom on Saturday after landing on British soil for the first time since 1948 ahead of London 2012.

olympic torch bearers

LIGHT IT UP

The Olympic torch relay went on an epic journey to London. See 2012's torchbearers.

Three-time Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie started the torch relay at Land's End, the southwesterly tip of England, early Saturday morning after the flame was flown in by a military helicopter.

The 35-year-old was the first of 8,000 torchbearers who will carry the flame 8,000 miles around the country, before ultimately arriving at the Olympic Stadium in East London for July 27's opening ceremony.

After running 300 meters, Ainslie passed the torch to 18-year-old Anastassia Swallow, a junior British surfer.

Ainslie said he was "more nervous" handling the iconic flame than competing in the Games, but added, "It's amazing. For me, growing up in this part of the world ... for the Olympic torch to set off from here around the nation, is a fantastic moment for the UK, for London 2012."

The Olympic torch arrived in the UK on Friday evening from Athens along with a delegation of British and sporting royalty.

Soccer star David Beckham and Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the Olympics organizing committee, joined Princess Anne, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and a former Olympian, on the flight from Greece.

Tagged: Ben Ainslie

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