Ipswich/Felixstowe: Call for Olympic hero Stan to carry torch ahead of games

TODAY The Evening Star is leading the calls for athletics legend Stan Cox to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition.

London 2012 bosses revealed this morning that the Olympic torch will stop overnight in Ipswich on its way to the opening ceremony of next year’s games.

A number of leading sports stars are likely to carry the flame – and The Evening Star is calling for Mr Cox to have a leading role.

The sprightly 92-year-old, who has lived in Felixstowe for 30 years, would like nothing more than to carry the torch on part of its route.

He is one of only a handful of surviving athletes to have competed in the Olympics the last time they were held in the capital in 1948.

Ever the athlete, Mr Cox still keeps himself fit by strolling along Felixstowe’s promenade and is unfazed by the possible task that could lie ahead.

“I would dearly love to be involved,” he said. “It is great news that the torch is coming to Suffolk.

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“My wish has always been to go on the last lap – to take the torch into the opening ceremony and then hand it over. I hope it will happen.

“Despite my age I still feel fit and think I could do it. I would be immensely proud to take part.”

Mr Cox was an international athlete from 1939 until 1956 and ran the 10,000m the last time the games were held in London, in 1948.

Back then he had to take a day off work to compete and BBC commentator Harold Abrahams – the 100m runner who won gold at the Paris Olympics in 1924 and whose story was re-told in the film Chariots of Fire – claimed Mr Cox actually ran one lap too many.

Four years later he won a marathon place in the Helsinki games and he also represented his country at the Commonwealth Games of 1954, which were held in Vancouver, Canada.

The London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) today revealed the overnight stops for the torch relay – exactly one year ahead of the flame’s arrival in the UK on its way to the opening ceremony.

Although the exact route will not be known until later this year, Ipswich – which is hosting athletes from Azerbaijan during the games – will be an overnight stop on Thursday, July 5.

The public nomination programme to find the torchbearers to carry the Olympic flame is also launched today.

People will be encouraged to get in touch and put forward the names of those who they think should carry the flame.