Torchbearer Idowu 'full of emotion'

Torchbearer Idowu 'full of emotion'

Phillips Idowu, centre, carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Newham and Tower Hamlets

Ella Statham carrying the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg through Greenwich Naval Collage (Royal London Borough)

Royal Marine Martin Williams abseils from a helicopter with the Olympic Flame into the grounds of the Tower of London

First published in National News © by

British medal hopeful Phillips Idowu said he was "full of emotion" as he carried the Olympic Torch in Stratford - just a stone's throw from the Olympic Park in east London.

The triple-jumper was greeted by hundreds of excited well-wishers in Westfield, the shopping centre which thousands of ticket holders will pass through during the Games.

Idowu - who was born and raised in east London - appeared overwhelmed by the crowd's support, and tried to describe what it felt like to carry the torch on home turf.

"It's an amazing feeling. I'm full of emotion right now," he said.

"Being born, raised and schooled in east London, having the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch in the home Games in front of my east London people... you guys have done me really proud.

"Thank you guys for coming out and hopefully in a couple of weeks' time I can make you guys proud also."

Idowu, who picked up a silver medal at the Beijing Games four years ago, is famed for his colourful haircuts, facial piercings, sweatbands and knee-high socks.

Earlier, the torch began its first full day in the host city at the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, and there was a party mood as thousands turned out around the newly restored Cutty Sark clipper.

The flame started its London journey at the Greenwich Royal Observatory, across the River Thames from Canary Wharf and overlooking the site of the Olympics' equestrian events.

It was then carried around Sir Christopher Wren's Old Royal Naval College before arriving at the Cutty Sark, which has recently undergone a £50 million renovation. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world, founder of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 1995 and a Cutty Sark trustee, ran the torch around the clipper to delighted cheers from the crowds.

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