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Veteran commentator carries torch

Published: 24 May 2012 17:000 comments

A LEGENDARY sports commentator swapped his spectator seat for a position in the action as Olympic fever kicked off on Saturday.

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Barry Davies, from Datchet, will commentate on his 12th Olympic Games - 19th including Winter Olympics - at London 2012 in July.

The veteran BBC broadcaster was given an early taste of the action-packed summer when he carried the Olympic Torch on the first of its 70-day tour across Britain.

"It was amazing," the 74-year-old said. "The people were unbelievably enthusiastic and it was very uplifting. All that talk about no one being interested turned out to be a load of nonsense.

"People were in queues of 15-20 deep - everyone wanted to be a part of it."

Mr Davies completed the prestigious 300-yard leg at 8pm - carrying the Torch into Plymouth.

He was nominated for the role by the International Olympic Committee and added: "Everyone got a cheer - it was quite moving." Olympic Torches are beginning to appear on internet auction site eBay,

but Mr Davies, who moved to Datchet with his wife Penny in 1975, has no intention of trying to flog his prized souvenir.

"I would never dream of it - it will stay in my family for many years to come. I have grandchildren who I will pass it on to."

Mr Davies set a broadcasting record when he commentated at his tenth football world cup finals in 2002.

He is set to cover hockey for the BBC and will commentate on the opening ceremony for the Olympic Broadcasting Services' world feed.

"This will give me a better sense of how the athletes will be feeling when the Torch is carried in the Olympic Stadium," he added.

"To be truthful I wondered whether I would make it to the London Olympics, but when I was invited to cover it I was delighted.

"To sit at home and watch would have been a great regret, but it will be a highlight of my career. It might even be a conclusion."

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