Olympic artefacts displayed

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A free exhibition telling the story of the Olympic Games has been announced as part of the London 2012 Festival.

The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games' will transport viewers back to ancient Greece, the original home of the Olympics, and follow a journey tracking some of the iconic Olympic athletes and stories of the last hundred years. Staged in collaboration with London 2012 partner BP, the exhibition will be held at the Royal Opera House and run for the duration of the Olympic Games next summer, from 27 July to 12 August. Unique artefacts, graphics, film and audio from The Olympic Museum in Lausanne will all be on display, including a collection of all the Olympic medals since 1896 and all the Olympic Torches since 1936. There will also be a 'Hall of Champions' featuring the stories and inspirational achievements of great Olympians from the modern Games. Tony Hall, chair of the Cultural Olympiad Board and chief executive of the Royal Opera House, said: " The London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, is already shaping up to be one of the finest of any Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Royal Opera House is delighted to be playing its part. " The London 2012 Festival is the culmination of the four–year Cultural Olympiad, which aims to use the Games to inspire creativity across all forms of culture across the UK. Meanwhile, photographs for the second phase of the National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012 exhibition, the Cultural Olympiad project which documents Britains medal hopefuls and key figures behind the London 2012 Games, have been revealed. The exhibition, called Road to 2012: Changing Pace, is taking place between 25 July and 25 September 2011 at London's National Portrait Gallery as part of a three–year cycle in partnership with BT, premier partner of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Continuing the narrative of last year's Road to 2012: Setting Out show, the new exhibition will portray top athletes in dramatic sporting poses alongside the people who have mentored them, as well as those involved in the staging of the London 2012 Games. Among the latest photographs are portraits of Taekwondo world number one Aaron Cook doing a flying kick outside of his Manchester home; Paralympic champion swimmer Eleanor Simmonds about to start a training session; and London 2012 Organising Committee Director of Paralympic Integration Chris Holmes relaxing in the water. The striking photographs were taken by Finlay MacKay and Emma Hardy, the latest photographers to be commissioned for the project. Admission to the exhibition will be free. The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

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