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Ainslie carries Olympic flame

Ben Ainslie if the first to carry the Olympic Torch Photo: Chris Radburn/LOCOG/PA Wire

Three-time Olympic sailing champion Ben Ainslie has kicked off the London 2012 Olympic torch relay from Land's End this morning.

The Hampshire sailor is the first of 8,000 torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Flame 8,000 miles over 70 days to where it will light the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games.

Ainslie, from Lymington in the New Forest, also has the honour of being the first athlete to formally be selected for Team GB, is aiming to win his fourth successive gold medal on home waters at the London 2012 competition at Weymouth and Portland.

His Olympic dream seems to be on course after he this week became the world Finn champion for the sixth time in Falmouth.

The Olympic flame is lit and handed to Ben Ainslie Credit: PA