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Just about all Americans stationed in Italy will have an opportunity to catch a little Olympic spirit, for at least a few minutes, in the next two months.

Stefano Baldini, an Italian who won the marathon at last summer’s games in Athens, is scheduled to be the first bearer as the Olympic torch begins its journey Thursday around Italy, starting in Rome.

According to the official Web site (, more than 10,000 runners are expected to participate in the two-month, 6,800-mile trek.

Calls to U.S. military bases around the country Wednesday didn’t immediately turn up any American or Italian participants.

The site also contains an 88- page PDF document detailing the route on almost a minute-by- minute basis.

Key dates for American communities include:

Dec. 13 (Day 6). The torch comes to Livorno just before 6 p.m. and is scheduled to spend the night there.Dec. 16 (Day 9). It’s back to the north of Camp Darby in Pisa for periods in the afternoon and evening.Dec. 26 (Day 17). Sailors at Naval Air Station Sigonella can watch it travel through Catania in the late afternoon and evening.Dec. 31 (Day 22). Runners start traveling through Naples in the late afternoon and continue through early evening.Jan. 1 (Day 23). The route travels through Gaeta for about 45 minutes just after lunch.Jan. 17 (Day 39). Those stationed at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza might even get to see the torch pass in front of the main gates. It’s supposed to travel down Vialle della Pace in the morning.Jan. 22 (Day 44). The larger cities around Aviano Air Base — Sacile, Fontafredda, Porcia and Pordenone — will host runners for about three hours in the afternoon.More than 140 cities are scheduled to be visited. Assorted ceremonies and celebrations are planned at stops along the route. The final destination is Turin, where the Winter Olympics begin Feb. 10.

Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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