May 9, 2011 / 1:23 PM / 6 years ago

Olympics through the ages on display in London

<p>Britain's Olympic triple jump gold medalist Jonathan Edwards poses for a photograph with a torch from the 1948 London Olympic Games, after unveiling a new exhibition called the "Olympic Journey", at the Royal Opera House, in central London May 9, 2011.Andrew Winning</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - Memorabilia telling the story of the Olympics from 776 BC to the modern-day speed machine Usain Bolt will go on display in London during the 2012 Games.

Up to 400 artifacts, video and graphics will be on show in a free exhibition called "The Olympic Journey: the Story of the Games" at the Royal Opera House between July 27 and August 12.

It will form part of a Cultural Olympiad which aims to channel enthusiasm for the Games into cultural creativity, especially among young people.

The definitive list of items has yet to formalized with the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, but it will include all the medals since 1896 and Olympic torches since 1936.

<p>Britain's Olympic triple jump gold medalist Jonathan Edwards, poses with a gold medal from the 1908 London Olympic Games after unveiling a new exhibition called the "Olympic Journey", at the Royal Opera House, in central London May 9, 2011.Andrew Winning</p>

Lausanne is home to about 100,000 artifacts including Olympic sprint champion Bolt's Jamaican vest, the running shoes worn by Emil Zatopek on his way to winning the 1952 Helsinki marathon and the Olympic torch used at the 1936 Berlin Games.

"The exhibition is about the story of the Games ... it brings it to life through the athletes' stories," said Jonathan Edwards, who won Olympic gold in Sydney in the triple jump and retains the world record.

"There is the personal view but it also emphasizes the Olympic values, the spirit as well as the history."

The artifacts have been built up over the years through donations and purchases at auctions, and the London exhibition, backed by oil giant BP, will be the biggest outside Lausanne.

"Our mission is to keep the items alive," said museum director Francis Gabet.

Editing by Steve Addison

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