Thousands of fans and theatregoers lined the streets of the West End yesterday (26 July) as the Olympic torch made its symbolic journey to the Olympic stadium in Stratford.

As the torch passed the Gielgud theatre, where Chariots of Fire is currently playing, Vangelis' iconic theme song, first written for the 1981 film was pumped out by the theatre's speaker system, drowning out the music of the attendant Olympic sponsor vehicles.

Chariots of fire theatreOlympic Torch in Theatreland (Photo: Peter Gibbons)
Olympic torchTorch passes the Gielgud (Photo: Peter Gibbons)
Accompanied by lead actors James McArdle and Jack Lowden, Vangelis was raised by a platform to greet the flame. Torchbearer Nawal El Moutawakel, who won a gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles games, stopped to wave to the composer and actors before the motorcade moved along.

At a press conference after the procession had passed, Vangelis spoke of the 'incredible experience after all these years... to finally see the live flame.'

Chariots of fire Olympic torchJames McArdle, Vangelis, Jack Lowden at the press conference (Photo: Peter Gibbons)
But when pressed on the significance of his music at the event, he replied that 'It's not about the music, it's about the light and the flame', praising the wholesomeness of the Olympic games.

El Moutawakel later attended the press briefing and told Vangelis that the soundtrack to Chariots of Fire had inspired her athletic victories, and also claimed that London's Olympic spirit bettered that of the Athens, Sydney and other games she had attended.

Chariots of fire Olympic torchJames McArdle, Vangelis, Jack Lowden outside the Gielguld Theatre (Photo: Peter Gibbons)