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London 2012: Olympic cauldron moved to new home in stadium after opening ceremony

PUBLISHED: 12:14 30 July 2012 | UPDATED: 08:17 31 July 2012

Torchbearer Austin Playfoot poses after lighting the Olympic cauldron at the Olympic Stadium  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Torchbearer Austin Playfoot poses after lighting the Olympic cauldron at the Olympic Stadium (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The spectacular London 2012 Olympic cauldron which wowed millions of people during the opening ceremony has been moved to its new position in the stadium.

The cauldron was moved overnight into its resting place in the same position as the opening ceremony bell ready for the athletics competition to begin on Friday.

The Olympic flame, which was seen by nearly 15 million people on its 70-day relay around the UK, and by a worldwide TV audience of around one billion people in Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony, was placed in a special miner’s lantern before work began to move Thomas Heatherwick’s structure from its ceremony position in the centre of the field of play.

The cauldron, made up of 204 steel pipes and individually designed copper petals inscribed with the competing nation’s names, was then relocated at the south end of the Olympic Stadium within eyesight of competing athletes, as an echo of the cauldron location at Wembley for the London 1948 Games.

Today, during an ongoing 80-hour transition of the stadium from the set for the opening ceremony to a sporting area, the cauldron was relit.

In a small ceremony the flame was transferred from the miner’s lamp to London 2012 torchbearer Austin Playfoot who then lit the cauldron.

Mr Playfoot invited by organisers following his role as a 1948 London Games torchbearer.

At the end of the 2012 Games, each team will take its petal home and the London 2012 cauldron will cease to exist.

Cauldron designer Mr Heatherwick said: “There is the precedent of the 1948 Games of the cauldron set within the stadium, to one side with the spectators, and with the technology we now have that didn’t exist in 1948 it can be shared with everyone in the Olympic Park with screens.

“We felt that sharing it with the screens reinforced the intimacy within it. If it had been a huge beacon lifted up in the air it would have had to be bigger, and would have somehow not met the brief that we discussed with Danny Boyle of making something that was rooted in where the people are.”

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