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Two months to go until London 2012... High Life's columnist gets set to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay into the UK and remembers her own part in this historic — and thrilling — occasion
It's an exciting month in the countdown to the Olympic Games. The Olympic Torch Relay gets under way, signifying the Games are really close. The Olympic Flame is going on an amazing 70-day journey around the UK, covering around 8,000 miles. And it's not just visiting big cities but local communities, too, taking the spotlight off London and getting the whole country involved.
There is a long, careful process of selecting the Torchbearers — they're all inspirational people and local heroes who have done great things in their communities or devoted their lives to sport. It will now be their moment to shine and be part of one of the best sporting events in the world. It's an amazing feeling carrying the Olympic Flame — I carried it in 2008 on the leg to Westminster. This year, the streets will be lined with people — it's a celebration of unity as the excitement builds. Finally the Olympic Flame will be guided to the Olympic Stadium and the UK will be the focus of the entire globe as the cauldron is lit. There's always mystery surrounding that final Torchbearer. It's traditionally an iconic individual — there have been rumours of who it might be, but we could all be surprised.
May is an agonising time for some athletes, too, as they wait to find out if they've qualified. The Olympic Games only come along every four years and people have put their heart and soul into training. When you realise you're going to be taking part, the sense of achievement and joy is overwhelming. Receiving your selection letter from the British Olympic Association is the official stamp of recognition. Back in 1996, I was alone when I received the letter saying I'd been selected to take part in my first Olympic Games. It was an incredible moment. I danced around and then laid it on the table for my mum to see when she came home from work.
The excitement just builds. It's a frenzy of having uniform fitted, outfits tailor-made for the opening ceremonies, and getting all the kit you need — the women athletes are particularly thrilled that Stella McCartney is designing the kit this year. It's such an emotionally charged time. With just two months to go, keeping heart rates at a steady pace is going to be difficult. We'll be sending our biggest team ever to the Games this year and giving as many athletes as possible the chance to compete in their own country. We should all be rallying around them as the big day draws near.