Gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci was given the honor of carrying the Olympic torch on Saturday as the flame began a seven-day tour of London that will culminate at Friday's Opening Ceremony.
The torch arrived in London on Friday, the 63rd day of the relay, in a Royal Navy Commando Helicopter. In front of the London Bridge, a Royal Marine carrying the flame rappelled down a rope to the capital. Olympic track and field champion Kelly Holmes, the 800m and 1500m gold medalist in Athens, was the first to run with the flame in the host city.
On the torch's first full day in London, Comaneci ran with the torch to the top of the North Greenwich Arena, where she exchanged the flame with English basketball legend John Amaechi. The gymnastics competition begins in one week at the same arena.
"I'm very happy and honored to be part of the torch relay," Comaneci said. "Everybody's very excited, just six days to the opening ceremony."
The torch, which has been carried by 8,000 runners around the United Kingdom since May 19, is nearing its final destination of the Olympic Stadium. One final runner will light the Olympic cauldron to officially mark the opening of the XXX Olympiad. The flame will stay lit for the next 14 days.
In one of the most memorable moments of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, gymnastics great Li Ning "ran" with the torch around the rim of the stadium in spectacular fashion before lighting the flame.
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