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Callum Airlie lights Olympic Cauldron

By Luissa Smith, 420 Class Communications on 28 Jul 2012 27 July 2012
Callum Airlie represents sailing at the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron
Callum Airlie represents sailing at the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron
Photo © AFP/Getty Images
Callum Airlie back at the 420 Worlds after lighting the Olympic Cauldron
Callum Airlie back at the 420 Worlds after lighting the Olympic Cauldron
Photo © Paul Szimak

Sailing represented at symbolic lighting of Olympic Cauldron at Opening Ceremony of 2012 Olympic Games

Solving the last remaining riddle of the Opening Ceremony, seven teenagers lit the Olympic cauldron in the symbolic start to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The young athletes, each nominated by a renowned British Olympian, lit a single tiny flame each within a copper petal on the ground, which triggered the ignition of more than 200 petals. The petals then rose towards each other to form one flame, described as a flame of unity.

The lighting of the cauldron holds huge symbolism within the opening ceremony as the flame burns above the stadium for the duration of the Games.

The arrival of the flickering torch into the darkened stadium carried by five-times Olympic champion Steve Redgrave was greeted by a huge roar, bringing to an end a 70-day, 8,000-mile journey around some of the most famous landmarks in Britain where it was cheered on by millions of people.

It had earlier been driven up the Thames in a speed boat by former England soccer captain David Beckham, who then passed it to five-time Olympic gold medallist rower Sir Steve Redgrave. Redgrave was met by the nominated young athletes, who ran along the stadium track before being joined by the six other Olympic winners who had selected them.

The seven athletes were Callum Airlie, Jordan Duckitt, Desiree Henry, Katie Kirk, Cameron MacRitchie, Aidan Reynolds and Adelle Tracey, aged between 16 and 19. The choice of teenagers for the final stage marks a change from recent Games where some of the world's most famous athletes have carried out the lighting.

The seven British athletes lowered torches to ignite 205 copper 'petals', one for each competing nation or territory, that spread into a ring of fire and the copper "petals" then rose skyward and came together to form the elegant cauldron. The cauldron will be moved to take pride of place in the Olympic Stadium within the eyeline of competing athletes. At the end of the Games, each team will take their petal home and the London 2012 cauldron will cease to exist. Like a flower that only blooms for the during the competition, it's a temporary representation of the extraordinary transitory community that is the Olympic Games.

420 sailor Callum Airlie was nominated by gold medal-winning sailor Shirley Robertson. He has been sailing since the age of four, is a two-time Optimist UK National Champion and has been sailing a 420 for two yerars, with crew Joseph Butterworth.

Callum is returning to Lake Neusiedl today to compete at the 2012 420 World and Ladies World Championships where he will continue to celebrate his 17th birthday.

Ahead of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games Callum had been a torchbearer for the Torch Relay.

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