Winter Olympics: Moon chosen to carry torch

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The Independent Online
A British anti-landmine activist, two world-class runners and three Olympic Nordic combined champions will be the final torch runners at the opening of the Nagano Olympic Winter Games in February.

Mine activist Chris Moon and the Japanese women runners, Hiromi Suzuki and Masako Chiba, will be among the torchbearers, along with Takanori Kono, Masashi Abe and Reiichi Mikata - all gold-medal winners for Japan in the Olympic Nordic combined team event. Midori Ito, the former Olympic figure skating medalist, will light the cauldron.

The inclusion of the two long-distance runners will act as a "bridge between the Nagano Games and the Sydney summer Olympics," a spokes-man said.

A former British Army officer, Moon lost a leg and an arm while defusing landmines in Mozambique in 1995. He will join the opening ceremony with the use of leg and hand prosthetics.

After the Olympic flame is lit in Greece on 19 December, the torch will travel through all of Japan's 47 prefectures from 6 January to 7 February. About 1,200 runners are involved in the month-long nationwide torch relay.