Gianniotis named as first London 2012 Torchbearer

The Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) has announced that Greece's British-born swimming world champion, Spyros Gianniotis, will be the first Torchbearer for the Greek leg of the London 2012 Torch Relay.

Running from 10–17 May, the 3,000km Relay will see the Olympic Flame carried by 500 people as it passes through 34 Greek cities, before being handed to London 2012 representatives ahead of the 70-day Relay around the UK and Ireland.Liverpool-born Gianniotis, who won gold in the 10km open water event at last year’s FINA World Championships in Shanghai, is expected to be a major medal contender at the 2012 Olympic Games and has already stated that, “swimming in London will be like swimming at home”.

The Greek leg of the Torch Relay will begin on 10 May with a ceremony at the Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia, where the Olympic Flame will be lit using the sun's rays in the presence of International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge and London 2012 Chairman Seb Coe. It will then begin its journey across Greece, travelling to the island of Crete before going to Piraeus, Thessalonica, Xanthi and Larissa.

On 17 May, the Flame will arrive in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens – the site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 – where it will be handed to the London 2012 delegation.

The UK leg of the Torch Relay will then begin on 18 May, before finishing at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony on 27 July.