The Olympic Flame is on a 106 day cross country relay which will end in Vancouver on Feb. 12, 2010 to mark the start of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Arnold Schwarzenegger will hand the Olympic torch off to Sebastian Coe on Friday morning, the day of the opening ceremony at the Vancouver Games.
The California governor and the two-time Olympic gold medalist runner were revealed Monday as torch relay participants along with several famous Canadians, including the father of hockey great Wayne Gretzky.
"Clearly we want to have a big finish," said John Furlong, the CEO of the Vancouver organizing committee.
Besides Walter Gretzky, other notable relay runners include astronaut Julie Payette, singer Jann Arden and former hockey player Richard Brodeur.
The 106-day relay is closing in on Vancouver, where a protest is planned for Friday afternoon just hours before the opening ceremony.
"If we have people who decide to come to the route to express their view, this won't be new. We hope it's respectful," Furlong said. "If we have a few challenges they will be managed professionally."
VANOC executive vice president Dave Cobb said the organizing committee has notified the International Olympic Committee of the protest possibility.
"We told them what we expect and security is telling us that the protests that may occur are expected to be peaceful and within the law," Cobb said. "If they are then we're fine with it, but the security forces are prepared to react if people break the law."
IOC executive board member Gerhard Heiberg said the Olympic body was not overly worried about the protests.
"I wouldn't call it concerns," said Heiberg, who organized the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. "We have to accept protests, and there will be some. Fine, we are used to that. That's normal."