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Discourse Markers: Olympic Flame travels the UK

Discourse markers make your English sound more fluid and advanced. You should definitely use them if you are doing the IELTS exam (as explained in this post). The discourse markers are highlighted in bold in the text. Maybe they are obvious what they mean. If you need an explanation for a phrase or vocabulary, please ask me in the comments section and I will do my best to clarify.   Well, what a week it has been for the Olympic Torch! First of all, the Olympic Flame arrived in Cornwall in South-West Britain. It had been flown from Greece on a special plane escorted by Princess Anne, David Beckham and other VIPs who had been involved in the bid for the Olympics. You might be thinking that having a flame on a plane is not allowed these days... and you’d be right. The Olympic Flame was carried in 4 specially designed miner’s lamps.  

  The next day, the Olympic Torch started off its 8,000 mile trip around the UK until it gets to its destination of the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony on July 27th.The first torchbearer (the person carrying the flame) was Ben Ainslie, a three-times Olympic gold medallist for sailing. Thousands of people turned up at dawn to see Ben carry the flame from Land’s End, the southwestern most tip of mainland UK.  

  Surprisingly, 2 days later, the torch went out due to a faulty burner whilst being carried by David Follett - a wheelchair badminton player. In the event of this exact situation happening, the back-up miner’s lamps are transported alongside the main flame and it was re-lit in no time at all and continued on its journey. By the way, every torchbearer has their own torch and they have the right to keep them. Despite the fact that you would think they are something to be kept and cherished as a family heirloom, unfortunately, some torchbearers had put them up for sale on ebay... even though they hadn’t even been used! One Olympic Torch up for sale had even received a bid of £150,000. As a result of the huge criticism that some sellers started to receive, many of them came out to say that they were going to give any money from the sale to charity. Incidentally, the Olympic torches cost the torchbearers £215 to buy. Following on from that scandal, Will.i.am  from The Black Eyed Peas had a turn at carrying the Olympic Torch. Nearly all of the 8,000 torchbearers have been selected by family and friends because of good work that they have done in the local community. Therefore, it was hard not to look on the inclusion of  Will.i.am cynically: he is not British, not an athlete and hasn’t done charitable work for local communities in the UK. However, he is a high-profile judge on a prime-time TV singing show at the moment that needs free advertising. To make matters worse, he was tweeting on his phone to his twitter followers whilst carrying the flame, which makes a mockery of the whole event in my opinion. Frankly, I think that there’s no excuse for celebrities being able to bend the rules like this.  

  Subsequently, Didier Drogba from Chelsea FC got the honour of carrying the flame through Swindon - well, at least he’s involved in sport! Someone ran from the crowd to try to grab the flame from him, but he was tackled by the police escorts before he got near Didier. Finally, the torch got back into Royal hands as Zara Phillips (Princess Anne’s daughter) rode on her horse into Cheltenham racecourse showing off the flame to the crowd’s delight.  

  If you want to hear what SGI teachers think about the build-up to the London Olympics, you can listen to the podcast here.    

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