- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Greece hands Olympic flame over to Britain
ATHENS, Greece — The Olympic torch was passed to London — witnessed, appropriately, by hundreds of Greeks huddled under umbrellas.
Seeking some relief from the country’s economic and political woes, Greeks sat on the stone steps of the ancient stadium in Athens on Thursday to watch the ceremonial handover of the Olympic flame to the organizers of the 2012 London Olympics.
They cheered the Greek national anthem. They cheered 88 schoolchildren belting out “God save the Queen. They went nuts when U.K. soccer star David Beckham was announced.
But they really roared when they saw the fire.
“The flame belongs to the world,” London Olympic chairman Sebastian Coe said. “The arrival of the flame in the host nation is a clarion call to the athletes and young people in more than 200 nations and territories preparing to gather for the London 2012 Games.”
There were jokes about the pouring rain — more London than Athens surely — with London Mayor Boris Johnson joshing that everyone would just have to get used to it. But the clouds actually pushed back for a few short minutes, giving the robed dancers, the drummers and the decorative Greek guards a chance to parade around, pompom shoes bouncing.
The flame was passed. No soaked cauldron.
“Once the flame is lit, for all intents and purposes, the Games start,” Coe told reporters.
The flame was lit last week at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, and has been making its way around Greece in a relay. Despite a political crisis, a financial debacle and the unusual weather, Greeks were heartened by their eternal link to the Olympics.
“I am Greek and I am proud to be Greek,” said Konstantina Giannpoulos, 27, a drenched physical education teacher who clutched a plastic blue-and-white Greek flag. “I want to honor my country.”
Princess Anne, a former British Olympic equestrian, took possession of the fire.
“The eyes of the world are swiveling to London,” Johnson said with delight.
Dominique Molin, a 52-year-old former French teacher who ventured out to see Princess Anne tour a center where horses are used to help disabled children, noted that Europe absorbed many ideas championed by the ancient Greeks — like democracy — to say nothing of honoring its art and culture.
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- 'Blarney Blowout' near UMass results in 73 arrests; 4 officers injured
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again