THE OLYMPIC flame has moved on to northern England following its hugely successful seven-day journey around Scotland, which saw over 400,000 people line the streets to watch the inspirational torchbearers.
The flame left Scotland on Day 27 of the torch relay as it travelled over 140 miles on its journey from Edinburgh to Alnwick, in northern England, where an Evening Celebration was held at the medieval castle, which featured in the Harry Potter film series.
On its way, the flame was carried by 130 inspirational torchbearers including 37-year-old Sean Walls, who was nominated for setting up Sight Aid International, a charity that offers free eye tests and glasses to people in Kenya.
The following day, the torch travelled over 64 miles on its journey from Alnwick to Newcastle, passing landmarks such as Warkworth Castle, Old Eldon Square and St James Park.
Torchbearers included Olympic bronze medallist Louis Smith, World Cup winner Jack Charlton and TV adventurer Bear Grylls, who carried the flame down a zip wire from the top of the Tyne Bridge archway.
After an evening celebration in Newcastle, the torch relay continued on to Durham the following day, passing landmarks such as the Angel of the North and Hadrian's Wall, with torchbearers including Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie and former 3,000m world record holder Brendan Foster. The following day, the torch travelled a further 83.7 miles on its way to Middlesbrough.
THE INTERNATIONAL Olympic Committee (IOC) has moved quickly to deal with allegations that some National Olympic Committees (NOC) and Authorised Ticket Resellers (ATR) have broken rules relating to the sale of Olympic tickets.
After claims that several NOCs and ATRs were reportedly willing to break the rules by offering to buy or sell tickets outside their territory, sell tickets at inflated prices, or sell tickets to unauthorised resellers, the IOC has ordered an immediate inquiry and referred the allegations to its independent Ethics Commission.
On being informed of the allegations, the IOC immediately convened an extraordinary meeting of its Executive Board and determined a number of actions -- the convening of the Ethics Commission and asking for any evidence of wrongdoing to be provided to the commission without delay.
The IOC said it takes these allegations "very seriously" and has immediately taken the first steps to investigate. Should any irregularities be proven, the organization said it will deal with those involved in an appropriate manner. The NOCs are autonomous organisations, but if any of the cases are confirmed the IOC said it will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions.
The IOC has also determined that it will take on board any recommendations coming out of the inquiry to improve the way that tickets are allocated and sold internationally in the future.
LONDON 2012 has officially opened the Olympic Stadium, ahead of this summer's Olympic Games. Nine-year-old Niamh Clarke-Willis, who lives in Hackney, East London, was given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to declare the newly-built venue open, as she joined London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG) Chairman Seb Coe on stage at a star-studded event in the stadium.
Clarke-Willis and Coe pushed a button to launch balloons into the sky in front of 40,000 members of the public who were at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford to witness the opening, which also included a laser light show and performances by former Spice Girl Melanie C, rapper Chipmunk and comedian Jack Whitehall.
The event was used by LOCOG to test the Olympic Stadium's management and security ahead of the 2012 Games. Clarke-Willis was chosen to join Coe on stage when Paralympic and Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning archer Danielle Brown shot arrows at two spinning targets to select a name from 100 pre-selected eight to 14-year-old girls and boys. The lucky youngster also received two free tickets to the London 2012 opening ceremony on 27 July.