OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY: Olympic champions play starring role to packed crowds
OLYMPIC champions Amy Williams and Jason Gardener were among those who carried the flame as the Olympic torch relay snaked its way from Taunton to Bristol in front of massive crowds.
POPULAR CHOICE: Winter Olympic champion Amy Williams carried the flame between Yeovil and Somerton (Getty Images)
Police admitted the thousands that lined the route were way beyond their expectations and organisers have already had to beef up security such is the scale of interest in the relay, now just four days into its 70-day journey.
Williams, who won Britain's first individual Winter Olympic gold in 30 years when she was victorious in the women's skeleton two years ago in Vancouver, carried the flame between Yeovil and Somerton.
Gardener, part of Team GB's historic 4x100m gold medal winning relay team in Athens, ran through his native Bath, taking the torch just a few runners after Kate Allenby, who won modern pentathlon bronze at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
In total 147 torchbearers were involved along the 108.5 mile route with Wells City Cathedral and Royal Crescent in Bath among the iconic landmarks.
Aspring Paralympic sailor Blaire Hannan, 21, lit the cauldron at an evening celebration attended by thousands at a sun-baked Bristol docks.
HOME HERO Jason Gardener, who won sprint relay gold at the Athens Olympics, carried the torch through his home city of Bath (Getty Images)
Meanwhile, organisers have confirmed that Zara Phillips, the Queen's granddaughter and the former eventing world champion, will be the last torchbearer on the fifth day of the relay, which starts in Bristol and concludes at Cheltenham's famous racecourse.
Phillips, who still hopes to qualify for Team GB's equestrian squad, will ride the leg on her most well-known horse ToyTown.
Ivory Coast footballer Didier Drogba, who played the decisive role in Chelsea's Champions League victory, will also be among the 129 torchbearers, as will Leon Taylor, an Olympic diving silver medallist in 2004 and mentor to newly-crowned European champion Tom Daley.
© Sportsbeat 2012