By Duncan Mackay in Vancouver

February 8 - Sebastian Coe is to carry the Olympic torch on Friday as it heads towards the opening ceremony of the Winter Games here and will receive it from former Hollywood actor and now Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured).

Coe, the chairman of London 2012 and a two-time Olympic 1500 metres champion, will become the third Briton to carry the torch during its 28,000 mile journey.

He joins Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards, the ski jumper who was the unlikely star of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and four-time Olympic rowing champion Sir Matthew Pinsent, who carried it as it arrived in Whistler last Friday.

Coe was one of several celebrity torch-bearers unveiled here, including Schwarzenegger, the former Terminator star whose admitted use of anabolic steroids during his body building career do not exactly fit in with the hardline approach to doping that the Briton has always espoused.

Coe (pictured here with London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton) will be hoping that the event will pass off without the controversy that marked the last occasion he was involved with the Olympic torch.

That was in April 2008 during the controversial global torch relay for the Beijing Olympics when afterwards he described several Chinese officials guarding the flame as it passed through London as "thugs".

Coe was overheard on Channel 4 saying: "They [the Chinese guards] are horrible.

"They did not speak English ... I think they were thugs."

The comments caused huge controversy and helped lead to them being banned by the Australian Government.

The final day of the relay here is expected to attract protestors from several groups.

John Furlong, the chief executive of Vancouver 2010, said: "We are not worried about disruptions.

"If people come to express their views, we hope it's respectful and it's done peacefully.

"We hope that people who have waited 10 years to see the ceremonies will be allowed to do so.

"We have a great security team and they will determine how it's managed in and outside the BC Place [the venue for the opening ceremony]."

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