London 2012 Olympics: Who should light the Olympic Flame on Friday?
EVEN at this late stage, with just four days to go before the opening ceremony for the London Olympic Games, the identity of the person who will light the Olympic Flame has yet to be revealed.
The identity of the person is supposed to be kept a secret until the actual moment of the flame-lighting.
London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe today insisted that the choice of the person is not his call.
Coe says he has an input but that the final decision will be taken by the opening ceremony creative teams headed by Danny Boyle and Stephen Daldry.
That appears slightly at odds with British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt, who on Saturday stated that it would be a joint decision between the BOA and London 2012.
Coe also insisted that despite a report last week he is not pushing the claims of his best friend Daley Thompson over Sir Steve Redgrave. He said: “It will be a judgment made by our creative teams led by Danny Boyle and Stephen Daldry, and of course I will be a part of that but I have been very, very clear that it is not my call.”
So who are the contenders to be given the honour on Friday?
Described as “the greatest decathlete of all time”, Daley Thompson won two gold medals in the decathlon in 1980 and 1984, becoming only the second Olympian to do so. Thompson broke four decathlon world records during his peak, the longest of which he held for eight years until 1992. However, Daley was today accused of racism over a remark about the Irish, for which the BBC was forced to issue an apology.
Sir Steve Redgrave
The five gold medals won between 1984 and 2000 by Sir Steve Redgrave add significant weight to calls for his nomination, Redgrave is one of four Olympians to have won five consecutive gold medals. He is no stranger to ceremonial duties at the Olympics either, having twice carried the British flag at the opening of the Olympic Games in 1992 and 1996.
Dame Kelly Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes secured Olympic gold relatively late in her career, having toiled with injuries throughout much of her career. She won two gold medals in the 800m and 1500m events at Athens in 2004 in dramatic fashion, becoming only the third woman in history to win both events. Holmes was also a bronze medallist in Sydney four years prior. The Kent-born athlete retired within a year of being honoured by the Queen in the 2005 New Years Honours.
Sir Roger Bannister
Although Olympic glory eluded Sir Roger Bannister in 1952 - he finished fourth at the 1500m final - he became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes with a time of 3mins 59.4secs in 1954, a record that had been coveted by many rival athletes, including Australian John Landy, who went on to break Bannister’s record just 46 days later.
Bradley Wiggins’ victory at Tour de France yesterday has led to calls for the Team Sky cyclist to be considered as a candidate to be a torchbearer. The 32-year-old became the first Brit to win the Tour. Wiggins was also lauded for his sportsmanship during the Tour after a sabotage attempt involving tacks that felled several competiting riders. Wiggins will be chasing a fourth Olympic gold later this month.
Though David Beckham is the only contender not to have competed in the Olympics, the former England captain played a significant role in bringing the Games to London as part of the bid team spearheaded by Sebastian Coe. The LA Galaxy midfielder was omitted from Stuart Pearce’s Team GB squad, but will the 37-year-old have his moment at the Olympics?
• Who do you think should light the Flame? Post your comment below or vote in our online poll (right).
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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