Olympic Torch Lit In Olympia, Athens, Ahead Of London 2012 Games (GALLERY)

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People dressed in the robes of the ancient Greeks rehearse at the Temple of Hera in Olympia | PA/Getty

The quadrennial lighting of the Olympic Torch has taken place in Olympia, Greece, ahead of the torch relay's start prior to the London 2012 Games.

A "high priestess" kindled the flame, as the morning sun's rays were captured in a parabolic mirror. Although the flame did blow out soon after it was ignited.

The flame will now fly to the UK on 18 May for a 70-day relay around Britain.

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An Olympic symbol meant to symbolise purity because it comes from the sun - the flame is placed in an urn and taken to the stadium where the ancient Olympic Games were staged.

Olympic Torch
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Locog Chairman Lord Coe told sports and political dignitaries gathered in ancient Olympia: "We are also reminded this morning of sport's enduring and universal appeal, and the timeless Olympic values that transcend history and geography; values which, I believe, in these challenging times are more relevant than at any time before and particularly to young people all over the world.

"In 1948, shortly after the Second World War, my predecessor stood where I am today and made the first tentative steps in turning the world from war to sport.

"We find ourselves in challenging times again and turn to sport once more to connect the world in a global celebration of achievement and inspiration.

"This morning's ceremony reminds us of the core mission and responsibility of London 2012 - to inspire young people."

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