With just a week to go until the start of the Paralympic Games, a giant set of Agitos, the symbol for the Paralympic Games, has today been launched on the mound in Edinburgh.
This is the second set of giant Paralympic Agitos to launch in the UK before the Paralympic Games begin on the 29th August.
The Agitos were revealed by a spectacular stunt involving members of the Royal Air Force abseiling down from a helicopter and handing Paralympic archer Alasdair Hamilton an arrow which he shot into a target by the Agitos.
The launch was attended by London 2012 Director of Paralympic Integration and nine time gold medallist Chris Holmes, Paralympic archer Alasdair Hamilton and members of the Royal Air Force.
As part of the Paralympic Torch Relay preparations, a group of young disabled and non-disabled Scouts from communities near to Ben Nevis this morning ascended the mountain and used a ferrocerium rod to create the sparks that lit the flame for Scotland. The Flame was then placed in a miner’s lantern and transferred to Edinburgh where it will be the focus for a day of Paralympic celebrations on Sunday 26 August.
The 14m wide, 9m high Agitos will provide a stunning backdrop for the start of Edinburgh’s Paralympic Torch Relay celebrations, when the Scottish Flame will be used to light a ceremonial cauldron. The Agitos weigh just under one tonne and are made entirely of aluminium with a powder coat finish, with the recognisable red, blue and green colours. In total, 650 hours were spent designing, engineering and fabricating the Agitos.
The launch of the Paralympic Agitos coincides with a series of spectacular London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad events in Edinburgh as part of the most ambitious Edinburgh Festivals season ever presented. Highlights include hundreds of runners in specially designed light suits transforming Arthur’s Seat for NVA’s Speed of Light; major works by world-renowned directors in a unique dedicated theatre space at Lowland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre; Turner Prize-winning artist Susan Philipsz’s Timeline multi-site sound installation; and a special Mela performance by New York drum ‘n’ brass band Red Baraat. Events are continuing across Scotland during the twelve-week UK-wide London 2012 Festival, which runs until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September.
The Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore said: “It is fantastic to see the launch of the Paralympic Agitos on the Mound in Edinburgh. It is a great honour for the city to be able to put the symbol on prominent display which will serve to fuel excitement over the approaching Paralympic games. We are especially proud to be involving 26 Scottish Athletes as part of team GB n the London Paralympics.”
Seb Coe, LOCOG Chairman, said: “I’m thrilled that as we get closer to the start of the Paralympic Games we are seeing the Paralympic symbol appearing in cities across the UK. This will no doubt continue to enthuse and inspire residents, athletes and spectators alike as they get ready to be part of the London 2012 Games.”
Alasdair Hamilton said: “The Agitos launch here in Edinburgh marks the start of something quite special which will not happen again in our lifetime; the Paralympic Games on home ground. The Paralympic Games showcases the very best athletes from all corners of the world, they will not only challenge other competitors but the belief of many of what is possible in sport. It is an honour and a privilege to be a small part of this great event.”