Who will light the Olympic flame?

Roger Bannister has overtaken Steve Redgrave as favourite to be handed the ultimate Olympic honour but both tell us they'll be involved in the ceremony

Bookmakers have stopped taking bets on Sir Roger Bannister to be the Briton handed the ultimate sporting honour of lighting the Olympic flame at the London 2012 Games opening ceremony.

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Meanwhile, Bannister – the first man to run a sub-four-minute mile – remains tight-lipped about the possibility. 

Contacted by Radio Times, the 83-year-old confirmed that he would attend the opening ceremony, but refused to be drawn on whether he had been chosen to light the flame. Asked whether he was in talks with the organisers, he replied: “No comment.”

Sir Steve Redgrave, who until yesterday was the bookies favourite, has admitted that he will play a part in the Olympic opening ceremony, but does not yet know if he will be asked to light the Olympic flame.

The five-time gold medallist told Radio Times that he had held talks with Olympic organisers about his role in the opening ceremony. He said: “There’s a lot going on. There are a lot of discussions going on over the past week that I’m in the know about. But I’m not going to let on.

“I will be involved but I don’t know exactly in what role, and I don’t know who will be lighting the flame. The normal thing is that they keep it secret as long as they possibly can.”

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Redgrave suggested that the torch-lighting ceremony would feature a number of high-profile sporting figures, including Bannister. He added: “Sir Roger Bannister has been mentioned too. They’re trying to get as many former Olympians involved as they can.”