Coe’s position as the chairman of organising committee Locog – which will make the decision on which torchbearer will conclude the 8,000 runner relay at the opening ceremony on 27 July – always made him a bit of a long shot (his odds peaked at 8/1, making him fifth favourite).
And he is on record as supporting close friend Daley Thompson, who won decathlon gold in the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Games, to have the honour.
But many – including 24 per cent in a poll on Olympic website morethanthegames.com – still believe Coe should follow in the footsteps of John Marks, the athlete who lit the cauldron at the 1948 London Olympics.
Pressed on who he thought should get the job, IOC member Denis Oswald, at the conclusion of the tenth and final inspection visit to this summer’s hosts, gave a diplomatic response – even refusing to push the case of fellow rower Sir Steve Redgrave.
But he added: “All I know is it won’t be me and it won’t be Seb.”
Redgrave, Britain’s most successful Olympian with five consecutive gold medals between 1984 and 2000, remains the bookmakers’ favourite but his odds lengthened this week after it was revealed he would run with the torch in Henley on July 10.
However, there is a precedent. Cathy Freeman ran with the torch in Australia in the build-up to the Sydney Games but famously ignited the cauldron a few weeks later.
© Sportsbeat 2012
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