London 2012 Olympic Torch welcomed by Team GB at Loughborough University
6 July 2012
The Olympic Torch visited the Loughborough University campus on Day 46 of its journey, appropriately travelling through the Team GB preparation camp.
Giving a warm welcome, the University laid on a Follow the Light parade, a spectacular carnival procession, which travelled from the Paula Radcliffe Athletics Stadium to the new Loughborough University Stadium. There it was greeted by 1,800 local school children who had come to the University to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event.
While on campus the torch was carried by Paralympian Richard Whitehead, world champion 200m double amputee sprinter, and Alberto Cukeric who was recognised for his heroism in helping rescue people from a car accident.
“This has been a tremendous day for Loughborough University and we are so pleased to have been able to welcome the torch to the campus,” said the University’s Chief Operating Officer, Caroline Walker. “It received a rapturous reception across the University and now we are all looking forward to the start of the Olympic Games.”
Also attending were more 180 members of Team GB’s Olympic Ambition Programme, together with representatives from the British Olympic Association, including Team GB Deputy Chef de Mission Sir Clive Woodward and Olympic gold medallists and Team GB ambassadors David Hemery CBE and Amy Williams MBE.
With the University hosting 550 Team GB athletes and offering a complete Team GB experience process, they have met with widespread recognition, including a visit from Prime Minister David Cameron.
Cameron was taken on a tour of the facilities, taking in the four-star hotel, airport-level secure athlete check-in area and 24/7 meal and snack service designed by a Team GB nutritionist. The Prime Minister also took time to record a video message of support for Team GB athletes that will be shared with the delegation nearer to the start of the Olympic Games.
Student volunteer ‘Medal Makers’ , of which 450 have been recruited, helped with the torch procession and will be busy across the summer in the Team GB camp. Over the term 175,000 units of kit across 23 sizes will be issued as well as 80,000 items of clothing across 64 sizes to the 550 athletes and 450 support staff who are expected to pass through the Team GB Experience.
During his tour, the Prime Minister met members of the Team GB Volleyball and Basketball squads, both of whom were completing their kitting out process.
Over in the athletes’ lounge, Team GB members can socialise over Wii, table tennis and table football. Japanese Olympic athletes have also been offered use of these facilities with some of Team Japan expected to arrive soon.
Podium spoke to Ben Aherne, Business Development Manager for the University's Sports Development Centre, who project manages the Team GB and Japanese camp, who told us of the exciting preparations and work already underway and you can watch the interview on the video below.
By Ruth Faulkner
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