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Hello! I’m Samsung Storyteller Soheun Park. I am at the Manchester Torch Relay, where excitement of the London 2012 Olympics can be felt all over the place. I was lucky enough to witness the enthusiasm crackling in the air, even before the relay. I’d like to share with you some of the events and photos that I got to see at the London 2012 Olympics Torch Relay.
Look at the crowd gathered! Police were everywhere, as were the media and of course tons and tons of eager spectators.
First, I snapped a shot of the vehicle waiting to transport runners to the Collection Point (CP) in front of the hotel. I could already feel the excitement when I saw the smiling runners packed in the van. In fact, their enthusiasm was so contagious that I started to imagine myself as a future torch relay runner… 2016, here I come!
The festivities were evident everywhere. Check out this local musical group I found,.
Next, I made my way to the Collection Point to check out what was going on there. CP is an important place where torch relay runners gather before participating in the relay to receive detailed explanations on torch relay and to chat with other runners.
In this picture, a runner from Korea is talking with aforeign English runner. They met for the first time today, but became fast friends with a common cause – the Torch Relay!
I was able to get a brief interview with one of the runners, Samantha Lewis at the CP.
Q. I heard that many Torch Bearers have made large contributions to their local communities. Are you one of them?
Samantha Lewis Yes, I work at a local charity organization for disease control and public health of local residents. I believe that I have been selected a Torch Bearer because of my job.
Q. How do you feel right now?
Samantha Lewis I feel great! I still cannot believe that I was selected as an Olympic Torch Bearer. This is an honor that may never come back in my lifetime.
Q. How is your condition now that the torch relay will begin soon?
Samantha Lewis I was so nervous last night that I couldn’t go to sleep at all. I’m worried about dropping my torch in the middle of relay. Please encourage me to safely finish my relay.
After the interview, Samantha left the CP on a shuttle bus. I quickly moved to the relay spot where Torch Bearers will pass by.
This is a small quiet town called Crawshaw Booth, but not today. Many people filled the streets for the global event. I stopped to talk to someone from the audience.
Q. Hello. Would you introduce yourself to us?
Allen Hi. I am Allen, a resident of Crawshaw Booth.
Q. How did you hear about this event?
Allen Torch relay is a tremendous issue in UK now! You must know about it. I’ve been waiting since days ago for the torch relay to pass by our town.
Q. Please give a word of support to a runner who came afar from Korea.
Allen Thank you for coming all the way to England for the Olympic Torch Relay! I hope you will finish the relay without becoming nervous. Don’t forget to take a photograph with me.
The cheers grew louder with the arrival of the local police who were leading the way.
Following the local police was the “Caravan,” the Samsung Hope Relay promotion vehicle carrying the runners. It was cool to see Samsung staff dancing to pop music on top of the caravan as well as the LED display on the side.
As soon as the runners got out of the caravan, a crowd gathered instantly. The Korean runner Seungyeon Lee, took photographs with local residents with a smile on her face.
Before the run, a local police officer explained how to pass fire from torch to torch.
Seungyeon successfully performed the ‘Torch Kiss’ with the previous runner as soon as they arrived at the designated spot, and then Seungyeon began to run.
Here’s another photo of Seungyeon Lee, running confidently with her torch. You can see the pride and dedication on her face. The men on her sides are police officers, flanking her for safety.
I asked Seungyeon Lee for an interview after the relay.
Q. Congratulations on the successful relay. I heard that the torch is over 800g. Wasn’t it heavy? How did you feel about actually running with the torch?
Lee It was somewhat heavy to hold in one hand, but I held it in one hand and waved my other hand to supporters. Looking at the cheering bystanders let me forget all my worries.
Q. What did you have in mind while running? How did you feel after running?
Lee I ran keeping in mind the media vehicle in front of me as well as the spectators cheering me on. I feel extremely honored that I was able to participate in such a historic moment.
Q. Please say something for friends and family members watching you in Korea.
Lee I hope everyone will enjoy the event on TV, and thank you for your support!
I was both proud and a little bit envious of runners who received endless encouragement and cheers. the Olympic Torch Relay will pass by different places all over England and arrive in London on July 27th to announce the triumphant opening of the Olympics. I hope you’ll all join me in watching the opening ceremony and the many athletic contests of the upcoming days.