Heatherwick Olympic cauldron lit by young hopefuls

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Seven young British athletes who lit the London 2012 Games cauldron were each nominated by UK Olympic champions.

The identity of who was to perform the symbolic act had been shrouded in secrecy ahead of the ceremony.

The seven teenagers each lit a single tiny flame, igniting 205 copper 'petals', one for each competing nation or territory.

Londoner Thomas Heatherwick designed the concept - and the petals are set to burn throughout the tournament.

The Olympic torch was brought to the stadium along the Thames in a speedboat by David Beckham, who then passed it to five-time Olympic gold medallist rower Sir Steve Redgrave.

He was met by the nominated young athletes, who ran along the stadium track before being joined by the six other Olympic winners who had selected them.

Sir Steve himself chose rower Cameron MacRitchie - the 19-year-old finished fifth with partner James Edwards in the men's pair at the 2012 GB rowing team under-23 trials in April.

Seven young athletes

The seven athletes light the Olympic cauldron
  • Rower Cameron MacRitchie, 19
  • Sailor Callum Airlie, 17
  • London 2012 Young Ambassador Jordan Duckitt, 18
  • Runner Desiree Henry, 16
  • Runner Katie Kirk, 18
  • Javelin thrower Aidan Reynolds, 18
  • Runner Adelle Tracey, 19

He has also been selected to race at the World Rowing Under-23 Championships in Lithuania next year.

Gold-medal winning sailor Shirley Robertson nominated Callum Airlie as one of the seven athletes.

The 17-year-old is a two-time Optimist UK national champion who is aiming for the 2013 International Sailing Association & Federation Open.

Gold medal-winning swimmer Duncan Goodhew put forward 18-year-old Jordan Duckitt, who chaired the London 2012 Young Ambassador Steering Group for two years.

Desiree Henry, 16, was nominated by decathlete gold medallist Daley Thompson - she was the youngest member of the Great Britain youth team to win a world 200m title at the IAAF World Youth Championships in 2011.

She is set to compete at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona this year.

Thomas Heatherwick (second right) in Chichester during the torch relay Industrial designer Thomas Heatherwick (second right) created the ceremonial Olympic cauldron

Pentathlete gold medallist Dame Mary Peters nominated runner Katie Kirk, 18, to light the cauldron.

Katie ran in the 400m and 4x400m relay at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. She was also part of the gold medal-winning team in the 4x400 relay at the European Junior championships in Estonia.

Long jumper Lynn Davies - who won Olympic gold in 1964 - opted for javelin thrower Aidan Reynolds.

The 18-year-old has won three medals at English Schools, UK School Games and English championships.

Dame Kelly Holmes' nominee was Adelle Tracey - the 19-year-old runner has collected national junior and senior titles in 400m and 800m and has been in the top five UK rankings for the past six years. She won 800m silver at the 2009 European Youth Olympic Festival in Finland.

The seven young athletes each lit a single tiny flame on the ground, which triggered the ignition of the cauldron's petals.

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The petals were inscribed with each delegation's name and 'XXX Olympiad London 2012'. After being ignited they rose on long stems to converge and form a cauldron signifying unity and peace.

The designer, Thomas Heatherwick, has had a solo exhibition at London's V&A Museum as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Sir Terence Conran described him as the "Leonardo da Vinci of our times".

The industrial designer's previous works include The Vents project in London's Paternoster Square and the Rolling Bridge on the Grand Union Canal.

He has also designed The Zip Bag for Longchamp and was part of the team that designed the New Bus - the replacement for London's Routemaster double-decker.

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