Michael Johnson lights up Stone Henge with Olympic Torch

 

One of the world's greatest ever athletes carried the Olympic Torch around Stonehenge at sunrise today.

Michael Johnson, the 400m world record holder and Olympic gold medallist, paraded the flame at the World Heritage Site at a special dawn event before he ran the first leg of day 55 of the relay around Britain.

Speaking after jogging around Stonehenge, Johnson said: "It was amazing. It was a great experience to carry the torch around the iconic Stonehenge.

"It was amazing, unbelievable.

"I don't rank. It's all great. This is great; winning an Olympic gold medal is great.

"Life is great for me. This was incredible, just a really incredible, magic moment."

Johnson, 44, who won four Olympic gold medals and holds the world and Olympic records in the 400m and 4 x 400m relay, said he was looking forward to London 2012.

"It should be a great Games. The Olympics is always phenomenal," he said.

"The competition on the track should take care of itself and I think London will do a great job of hosting the Games."

At Stonehenge Johnson posed with university student Amelia Clifford, who ran with the torch yesterday in The Winterbournes, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Amelia, known as Millie, is a promising young 400m and 400m hurdles athlete.

The 19-year-old, from Salisbury, who is studying politics at Birmingham University, said it was a dream come true to meet her hero.

"It was amazing. It is such a pretty setting and I'm carrying the Olympic Torch for the second time at Stonehenge with Michael Johnson," she said.

"It was phenomenal and to get a second chance with a hero of mine ... it is such a good event and I am honoured to be part of it."

Amelia, who has represented Great Britain at junior level, said Johnson had passed on tips for reaching the top.

"I was meeting one of my idols - someone who still holds a world record ... you see him on the TV all the time and to actually have a conversation with him is phenomenal," she said.

"He talked about training hard and keeping your head down and that's definitely advice I will take away.

"He's inspired me anyway and now I've met him I just want to keep pushing and pushing and succeeding."

After Johnson ran today's first leg at Salisbury Cathedral he handed the torch to sixth form student William Copp, 17, who uses a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy.

PA

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