Mayor of London greets Paralympic flame
Mayor of London greets Paralympic flame
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SHOTLIST: LONDON, UK, 29 August 2012Source: AFPTV-VAR Mayor of London Boris Johnson with Paralympic flame and Paralympic athletes-VAR City Hall and Tower Bridge with Paralympic logo-VAR statue of Olympic mascot Wenlock in front of City Hall///--------------------------------------------------------------AFP TEXT STORY: Oly-2012-Paralympics-torch Paralympics: Torch passes London landmarks on way to stadium =(PICTURE+VIDEO)= LONDON, Aug 29, 2012 (AFP) - The Paralympic flame travelled past some of London's most famous landmarks on Wednesday ahead of the opening ceremony that will kick off the biggest Paralympic Games in the competition's history. Cheers and prayers met the torch as it arrived at the Shree Swaminarayan Hindu temple in northwest London, before heading eastwards towards the Olympic Stadium on a route that includes Piccadilly Circus and Westminster Abbey. Crowds also lined the streets, cheering and waving flags, as the torchbearers carried the flame down Abbey Road, the street immortalised by The Beatles. Torchbearers recreated the band's famous pose on the zebra crossing that appears on the cover of their 1969 album Abbey Road. Arvind Devalia, a writer who lives locally, said it was worth the three-hour wait to see the flame. "For me it was about the atmosphere and the camaraderie," the 41-year-old said. "People were so friendly and chatty and it was such a great vibe." The torch relay also swung by Lord's cricket ground and London Zoo. It was due to pass Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge before the opening ceremony, which begins at 1930 GMT and will see the games for disabled athletes officially opened when the flame is used to light the Paralympic Cauldron. The flame reached London after an overnight relay from the southern English village of Stoke Mandeville, the spiritual home of the Paralympics where the first wheelchair sports tournament was held in 1948. It was lit at Stoke Mandeville, site of a pioneering hospital for disabilities, on Tuesday evening and carried 148 kilometres (92 miles) southeast by 116 teams of five people. It will stay alight throughout the Games until the Paralympic closing ceremony on September 9. A record 4,200 athletes are taking part in the Paralympics across 20 sports, with the event expected to sell out for the first time and win its biggest ever television audience.
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