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Road to London: Who will light the Olympic flame?

TAGs: London Olympics, olympic torch, sir roger bannister, sir steve redgrave, sports betting

Sir Steve Redgrave, London Olympics 2012Apart from the off chance that a UFO actually does appear at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, one of the most eagerly anticipated moments at the event is the question surrounding who will be given the honor of lighting the Olympic flame. We’re days away from the opening ceremonies but the identity of the man or woman who will light the flame has yet to be announced. Olympic organizers have even said that the identity of that person will be kept a secret until he or she actually trots down to the field for the actual ceremony.

This, of course, makes for prime betting action that a lot of sports books are taking advantage of. We already know some of the individuals that will be part of the torch relay, but the mystery of who will light the flame has become a much-discussed talking point, so much so that a lot of oddsmakers have taken up to releasing lines on a number of people that are considered “finalists” to do the proverbial honors.

Some sports books, including William Hill, have listed five-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Steve Redgrave as the odds-on favorite with a 1/2 line. The choice of Sir Steve isn’t too far-fetched, especially considering that he’s one of the most successful British Olympians in history. In addition to being one of only four Olympians to win five consecutive gold medals, Sir Steve has also carried the British flag in two opening ceremonies, 1992 in Barcelona and 1996 in Atlanta. What are the chances he trades the Union Jack for the Olympic torch? Pretty good, apparently.

Coming in close to Sir Steve is another former British Olympian, Sir Roger Bannister at 3/1 odds. Sir Roger doesn’t have the Olympic credentials of Sir Steve, but he is renowned in the athletic world for being the first man to ever run a mile in under four minutes, doing it in three minutes and 59.4 seconds back in 1954. A nice option, but we’re not exactly bullish about the 83-year old’s chances.

After these two iconic British Olympians, the list becomes a little murkier with some names being thrown out and getting long odds, including four-time medalist Lord Coe at 8/1 odds, two-time gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes at 12/1 odds, decathlete Daley Thompson at 25/1 odds, and football icon David Beckham at 50/1 odds, among others.

Supposing these options aren’t enticing enough, you could always opt to go for the long shots. One alternative choice is Prince William at 66/1 or Kate Middleton at 100/1. You can also get London Mayor Boris Johnson at 250/1 odds, who is probably the choice of people who will bet on him lighting his hair on fire.

Or if you’re really feeling lucky, you can plump down some wood on the Queen herself doing the honors at 500/1.

It’s extremely unlikely that Her Majesty will actually do the honors of lighting the Olympic flame, but wouldn’t it be awesome if she actually did it AND a UFO incredibly makes an appearance at the opening ceremonies?

Ok, we’re getting excited now…

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