OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: British legends set for key role in opening ceremony
By James Toney, Sportsbeat, London 2012
A CAST of British Olympic legends are to play a key role in the dramatic closing moments of Friday's London 2012 opening ceremony, according to one of those responsible for selecting the final torchbearer.
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British Olympic Association chief executive Andy Hunt, along with organising committee counterpart Paul Deighton and ceremony producer Danny 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."
BOA chairman Colin Moynihan has made no secret that he wants fellow rower Sir Steve Redgrave, the five-time gold medallist to be involved, but insisted he was not part of the decision-making process.
"I really hope Steve Redgrave plays a significant part, he's one of the greatest Olympians alive in my opinion but I honestly don't know what is planned," he said.
Meanwhile, Australian sports minister Kate Lundy has backed athletes from Down Under to spoil Team GB's party in the coming fortnight.
Lundy has made a bet with opposite number Hugh Robertson over who will win the most gold medals at the Olympics.
If Team GB wins she will row down the course at Eton Dorney in British kit, while Robertson has pledged to wear the green and gold of Britain's sporting arch rivals to dribble a hockey ball around Australia House in central London.
"It's a great traditional rivalry and we took great pride in getting ahead of the UK in Sydney," said Lundy.
"The home team advantage is strong, you can feel it in the air. I think we can still do it, so many medals will be decided in sports where we are both great and the margins are the slimmest. But I'm optimistic."
Australian chef de mission Nick Green claims it could come down to a few events in a few sports to decide who will win the private battle.
"There are sports where we are number one and two in the world – like some events in track cycling, rowing and sailing. It could go either way and my feeling is these sports will decide it," he said.
Great Britain are targeting a top four place on the medal table, which they achieved in Beijing, while Green claims top five is Australia's only target.
© Sportsbeat 2012