Bannister new favourite to light Olympic flame

Sir Roger Bannister has emerged as a late favourite to light the Olympic flame.


Bookmakers stopped taking bets on the 83-year old athletics legend, who famously ran the first sub four-minute mile in 1953.

After his failure to medal at the 1952 Olympics, where he was favourite for the 1500m, Bannister considered quitting the sport.

But he focused himself on setting a historic athletics landmark, which he famously did at Iffley Road on May 2nd 1953.

He was involved in the torch relay in Oxford earlier this month but, perhaps tellingly, didn't actually run with the flame.

British bookmaker William Hill stopped taking bets on the final torchbearer after what they said was a 'monster gamble' yesterday.

British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt has already confirmed a cast of British Olympic legends are to play a key role in the dramatic closing moments of Danny Boyle's £30 million opening show.

Hunt, along with organising committee counterpart Paul Deighton and ceremony producer Boyle, are charged with deciding who has the honour of lighting the Olympic flame.

And while stopping short of revealing the big surprise, Hunt insists he's happy with the decision they've made.

"I'm pleased with the outcome, it is a unanimous choice," he said.

"Some of our greatest Olympians are going to honoured throughout the whole end sequence of the ceremony."

The Olympic torch is now on its final journey to the Olympic Stadium after it was received at Buckingham Palace yesterday by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

David Cameron and his wife Samantha watched a relay exchange take place on the doorstep of Downing Street while comedians David Walliams, Jennifer Saunders and Joanne Lumley, showbiz legend Sir Bruce Forsyth and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon were also among the torchbearers.

The flame is making its last journey on water, with a team of oarsmen taking it down the River Thames on the Queen's row barge Gloriana.

It will arrive at Tower Bridge shortly after lunchtime and then be kept out of public view at City Hall until tonight's showpiece opening.

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