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And even despite their economic hardships, the majority of Greeks in a recent poll say they want to stay in the 17-nation eurozone.

“We belong to Europe,” Molin said. “We want to be part of it.”

She thought the torch relay helped the country’s battered image.

“It shows that there are things still working here,” she said.

The flame will fly Friday — with its own seat and security agent — on British Airways Flight 2012, an Airbus painted gold at the nose. Shielded in a miner’s lantern, the flame will first land at a naval air station in Cornwall, before the Royal Navy flies it to Land’s End, the furthest point west in England.

Once in Britain, the Olympic torch heads off Saturday a 70-day relay — an Anglophile’s dream tour that ventures through hill and dale to embrace everything from cool Britannia to Stonehenge. The journey ends at London’s Olympic Stadium for the July 27 opening ceremony.

Some 8,000 torchbearers will carry the fire, mostly local people who have worked to better their communities. Olympic organizers hope that by giving the torch to community heroes, they will bring the spirit of the games to a country not necessarily willing to receive it.

The London Olympics has cost 9.3 billion pounds ($14.6 billion) — a large sum for a country grappling with economic austerity — and some in Britain worry about what happens when the games end Aug. 12. The future of the massive Olympic stadium, in particular, remains in doubt.

Coe acknowledges there are still many tasks to conquer and questions to resolve. He says the choice of the final torchbearer hasn’t even been discussed yet.

But there is one person you can cross off that list. Coe, a former gold medalist, says it won’t be him.