Steve Backley's joy at Olympic Flame visit to Bexley
PUBLISHED: 09:32 26 May 2011
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»Triple Olympic gold medallist Steve Backley OBE hailed plans to bring the iconic Olympic Flame to his hometown five days before the London 2012 opening ceremony.
The world famous javelin thrower - who won two silvers and a bronze at three different Olympic Games throughout a stunning 15 year career - talked of his pride after Bexley was announced last Tuesday night as one of the 74 locations it would visit.
Speaking exclusively to the Times, he said: “I was not aware Bexley had been successful. It’s a proud moment and great news for the borough.
“It’s very positive news about the torch relay. It has a great way of engaging the whole Olympic kind of messages we want to give out and for Bexley to be part of that is special.
“This is a very lovely visual experience in which people can get involved and help bring the Games to life, quite literally. It is very symbolic around the world and a big part of the whole Olympic delivery message.”
Arriving five days before the torch is lit in Stratford, the iconic embodiment of the spirit of the Games, will be celebrated in Bexley on July 22 with a free ticketed event aimed at bringing the community together and showcasing the area’s heritage and culture. The day’s celebrations will conclude when a cauldron is lit from the Olympic Flame.
Mr Backley, 42, attended Beths Grammar School, Bexleyheath, before forging a career which saw him set several world record throws, the best at 91.46m in New Zealand in January 1992.
He added: “I would love to come and get involved with any events happening in Bexley if the opportunity arose.”
Bexley council leader Teresa O’Neill said: “This is fantastic news. As well as the wonderful community evening celebration, the torch will travel across our borough giving thousands of people a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Flame.”
The exact route through the borough will be announced later this year and 8,000 runners will be given the honour of carrying the torch.
Nomination for relay runners launched yesterday. Visit www.london2012.com