Olympics-100-year-old will help carry London flame

LONDON, March 19 Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:43am EDT

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LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Olympic organisers have unveiled the white and gold kit to be worn by torchbearers as they carry the flame on its 8,000-mile journey around Britain plus the name of a 99-year-old who will take part.

Dinah Gould, who will be a centenarian by the time she walks a 300-metre leg along the streets of London, was not born when the city staged its first Olympics in 1908 but remembers when the capital hosted the 1948 Games.

"I just hope I do a good job," she said on Monday, leaning against her walking stick.

Gould, who prefers to use Diana as her first name, put her fitness down to yoga and chocolate.

"I'm a chocoholic and good health is in my genes - my mother lived until she was 102," she explained.

The grandmother was wearing the official torch relay kit, mainly white with gold shards, which organisers described in a statement as "accenting the energy of the Olympic flame".

Gould was among 7,300 torchbearers named on Monday while 700 more, including celebrities, are due to be announced later.

Also donning the kit at a school in east London was the youngest torchbearer, Dominic Macgowan, one of the 212 children who will be 12 at the time of the relay.

"I'm most nervous about falling over," said the keen footballer from Birmingham, central England.

Other torchbearers named included a member of the reserve forces who was injured in Afghanistan in 2009, an IT analyst whose parents emigrated from Bangladesh to set up home and a new business where the Olympic Park now is, and a girl who wants to coach soccer in the United States when she is older.

NOMINATION PROCESS

Organisers also named the streets where the torch will travel during its 70-day tour, starting on May 19 and ending at the stadium for the opening ceremony on July 27.

A large number of the torchbearers were put forward by family, friends and local communities through a public nomination process.

Each of the 8,000 bearers will carry an individual version of the gold-coloured triangular aluminium torch which has been likened to a large cheese-grater because of its meshed appearance.

Each day the torch will be carried by 115 bearers on average, taking in the outer reaches of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as the Irish capital Dublin.

Methods of transport will include boat, cable car, hot air balloon, bicycle, motorbike and horseback, as well as foot.

The journey will pass many monuments and historic venues and be protected by specially selected police teams.

Police have said that if there are any demonstrations they will probably come more from attention seekers than from the violent protesters who marred the torch relay four years ago before the Beijing Games.

After having its flame ignited by the sun's rays at Ancient Olympia, the torch relay will begin at Land's End, the most southwesterly point of England.

"The excitement will be increasingly infectious as people all over the UK now start to plan where they're going to go to see the Olympic flame and cheer on local torchbearers," said Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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