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Originally published Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 4:45 AM

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Olympic Flame lit in Ancient Olympia

The flame that will burn during the London Games was lit at the birthplace of the Ancient Olympics on Thursday.

Associated Press

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ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece —

The flame that will burn during the London Games was lit at the birthplace of the Ancient Olympics on Thursday.

An actress dressed as a high priestess used a mirror to focus the sun's rays and light a torch. The bright sunny skies meant there was no need for the backup flame that was used during the final rehearsal for the Olympic torch lighting a day earlier.

After the end of the ceremony, the priestess will hand over the torch to the first torchbearer, Greek swimmer and Olympic silver medalist Spyros Gianniotis.

Gianniotis is the first in a line of 490 torchbearers to carry the flame across 1,800 miles of Greek soil before the flame is handed to London Games organizers on May 17 in Athens' Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern games were staged in 1896.

In contrast to the two previous Summer Games, where the Olympic flame relay went around the globe, it will leave the United Kingdom only once, to pass though Dublin on June 6.

The Olympic Games run from July 27 to Aug. 12

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