By Tom Degun at the Tower of London

olympic torch_bearer_08-12-1111December 8 - London 2012 have begun to make conditional offers to 8,000 inspiring people to carry the Olympic Flame next summer during the 70 day Olympic Torch Relay across the UK.

The first 6,800 conditional offers of Torchbearer places have been made today, while a further 1,200 offers will be made by the end of January 2012 to complete the 8,000 strong London 2012 Torchbearer team.

Over 5,600 people with an offer of a place today were selected through the four nomination programmes run earlier in the year by London 2012 and its three Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners – Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

Overall, 90 per cent of the total 8,000 Torchbearer places have been made available to people nominated for a personal best through these public nomination campaigns, with the remaining 10 per cent of places are offered by invitation.

"Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate a friend, a colleague or a family member through one of the four campaigns," said London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.

"Today we are one step closer to giving thousands of people their moment to shine during the Olympic Torch Relay next summer.

"The sum of the individual stories of our Torchbearers will show the world that the Olympic spirit is alive and well right across the UK."

Next steps for people with an offer of a place today include accepting the date they have been offered to take part in the Torch Relay, providing a copy of specified documents, confirming their uniform size and any access requirements by January 25, 2012.

Every offer of a Torchbearer place is subject to passing the required background checks and final confirmation of becoming a Torchbearer will be communicated by London no later than March 2012.

Next year's confirmation of Torchbearer places will include the name of the town, village, city, or London Borough through which the Torchbearer is invited to carry the Olympic Flame.

A further communication much closer to the time of the Torch Relay will confirm the details of the exact 300 metre stretch of the route along which the Torchbearer will carry the Olympic Flame.

An average of 115 people a day will take centre stage next summer by carrying the Olympic Flame on its 8,000 mile journey around the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony.

"We have been overwhelmed by the thousands of outstanding nominations that we have received as part of our Coca-Cola Future Flames campaign this year," said James Quincey, the President of Coca-Cola Northwest Europe and Nordics.

"It's been truly inspiring to learn about the many different ways young people are spreading happiness in their local communities, and we're very excited to now be offering some of these people the once in a lifetime chance to carry the Olympic Flame next summer."

Gyehyun Kwon, vice president and head of worldwide sports marketing at Samsung Electronics, said: "We believe, as a Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, that it is our duty to ensure that the Olympic Flame reaches the world.

"The fortunate few that will run next year are a tribute to all those who go the extra mile for others.

"Samsung applauds them all."

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Sally Hancock, the 2012 partnership and group sponsorship director at Lloyds Banking, added: "The Olympic Torch Relay provides a wonderful opportunity for communities the length and breadth of the UK to get involved with the Games and celebrate people in their local area who have made a difference.

"We are inviting everyone to cheer on the Olympic Torch Relay with Lloyds TSB as it travels past their doorsteps next year."

Over 60,000 nominations were received across the four nomination campaigns.

Each campaign incorporated a rigorous selection process and the nominations were read and evaluated by independent selection panels.

Those who have not been successful with a nomination are invited to join the journey to the London 2012 Games by becoming a Local Leader.

The additional conditional offers made today are to people who also have a story of personal achievement or contribution to the local community.

One hundred and thirty five offers have been made to local heroes put forward by the 66 Local Authorities hosting an evening celebration event or an Island visit requiring extra logistics on the Olympic Torch Relay; 70 offers go to people who assist with delivering grassroots sport in the UK who have been selected by Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, sportscotland and Sport Wales; 205 people have an offer of a place through the British Olympic Association (BOA); 71 people through the IOC and 678 people through the other London 2012 Games commercial partners.

A further 1,200 conditional offers will be made by London 2012 and the three Presenting Partners in January 2012.

For example London 2012 will find 212 young people from across the UK who will be 12 at the time of the Torch Relay through Get Set Networked schools that are part of the London 2012 education programme, 30 young people through the International Inspiration Programme, 115 high profile Torchbearers and community role models.

The Presenting Partners' remaining allocations make provision for direct invitations to high profile Torchbearers.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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