London Games: Countdown begins with lighting of Olympic flame

Zeenews Sports Bureau

The official countdown of the London Olympics 2012 has begun with the lighting of Olympic flame at a ceremony in Olympia, Greece ahead of the start of the torch relay.

The flame was kindled by a "high priestess" who captured the morning sun`s rays in a parabolic mirror. The flame will fly to Britain on 18 May for a 70-day relay around the UK.

London Olympics Organising Committee (Locog) Chairman Sebastian Coe, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge and Hellenic Olympic Committee president Spyros Capralos were present on the occasion.

The torch will cover a distance of 2,900kms (1,800 miles) through the country, carried by 500 torchbearers, on a route circling the country and travelling out to Crete.