Torch lights up Wembley Stadium

The Olympic flame was held aloft at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday, two days before its marathon journey around Britain comes to an end with a starring role in the London 2012 opening ceremony.

Gordon Banks, England's goalkeeper when they won the 1966 football World Cup at Wembley, carried the torch along Olympic Way in front of the national stadium in northwest London.

The torch relay is on the 68th day of its 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometre) journey around Britain.

Since the flame began its final, seven-day tour around the Olympic host city on Saturday, an estimated 2.3 million Londoners have come out onto the streets to show their support.

"The sheer enthusiasm and support shown by the people of London for the Olympic torch relay over the last four days has been nothing short of exhilarating," said London Mayor Boris Johnson.

"They have cheered and waved, and changed the atmosphere from pre-curtain jitters to palpable excitement as we enter the final countdown to the greatest sporting event this country has ever seen.

"So with just over 48 hours to go I say dig out your flags, roll out the bunting and let's harness the incredible enthusiasm shown by the huge crowds who have cheered on the flame and power Team GB onto a locker-busting medal haul."

The flame also visited Wembley Arena, the London 2012 badminton venue, where it was carried by Nathan Robertson, Britain's badminton mixed doubles silver medallist at the Athens 2004 Games.

Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley in the "Harry Potter" films, was to carried the torch at Middlesex University.

Daley Thompson, who won the decathlon gold at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, was to be the final torchbearer of the day, lighting a cauldron at Alexandra Palace, from where the first public television service was broadcast in 1936.

Thompson, 53, trained at the nearby Haringey Athletics Club.

The relay is taking the Olympic flame within an hour's travel time of 95 percent of the British population, taking in famous sports venues, historic sites and places of outstanding natural beauty.


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