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Countdown Begins for Olympic Games as Torch Travels Past London Landmarks

July 26, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
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MARGARET WARNER: The 2012 Olympics open in London tomorrow amid concerns over whether the host city is fully ready. Today, Londoners turned out in force as the Olympic flame was carried through the city.

We start with a report from Geraint Vincent of Independent Television News on the countdown before the Games begin.

GERAINT VINCENT: The torch went round some London landmarks to the cathedral and the theater. This show is being put on by the United Kingdom. So, on the playing fields of East London, its front of house team is hard at work. That’s two princes and a duchess.

HRH PRINCE WILLIAM OF WALES, duke of Cambridge: Watching me on the football field is never a pretty sight. The expression, “giraffe on ice,” springs to mind.

(LAUGHTER)

HRH PRINCE WILLIAM OF WALES: Catherine, on the other hand, with a tennis racket or a hockey stick is something to behold. But what all three of us have in common is that we love sports. For us to hold the Olympic and the Paralympic Games here in London is a great moment for our nation.

GERAINT VINCENT: At the Olympic Park, there is a ready stillness, quiet preparations before the storm of competition. But the streets of London are dressed for the party.

In the years since the last Olympiad, economic crisis has stalked the globe. So, in uncertain times, London has the chance to remind the world of something that it can be sure of, that sporting contest can provide fuel for inspiration and cause for celebration.

And if the celebration needs celebrities, well, there have been plenty of them on hand to help carry that torch.

DAVID WALLIAMS, comedian: I was nervous, and my mouth went dry like to go on stage, yes. Something — after coming here, I realized I was part of something much, much bigger than I have ever been part of before.

GERAINT VINCENT: The sprinters, the cyclists, the sailors, the swimmers, the gymnasts, the boxers, the rowers, the jumpers, and javelin throwers and the spectators all are now part of something much bigger than themselves. The Olympic spirit is running through London, and its people, it seems, are very happy that it’s here.