Daley and Redgrave could miss out on lighting Olympic flame after BOA pact with Coe
16:06 GMT, 21 July 2012
A 'mutually-agreed solution' to
choose the person who lights the Olympic flame at the London 2012
opening ceremony has been settled on, according to one of the two people
making the decision.
The identity of the person is
supposed to remain secret until the actual moment, but according to
reports there has been a row between the British Olympic Association
(BOA) and the London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe as to who should have
Rivals: Daley Thompson (left) and Sir Steve Redgrave (right)
Sir Steve Redgrave and Daley Thompson are possible choices, as are Dame Kelly Holmes and Roger Bannister.
BOA chief executive Andy Hunt refused to say whether the person chosen would be an Olympian, but said: 'The debate is ongoing. We have a mutually agreeable solution – a good solution to the outcome. We are still in final discussions.'
Asked if there had been disagreements, he added: 'It's all very positive. It's a big topic.
'The decision between the two organisations is joint – it's a joint decision between LOCOG and the BOA.
'Clearly the ceremonies committee, which is made up Danny Boyle and the ceremonies team, will make a recommendation and has made recommendations and we can choose to support or not to support the recommendations. It's an act of dialogue.'
Great Olympians: Thompson and Redgrave
Influence: Lord Coe
Although London 2012's 'ceremonies
team' are officially involved, Deighton and Hunt are the kingmakers.
Both have signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep the identity of the
cauldron lighter secret until the moment of truth on July 27. In the
event of a split verdict, it is likely that the view of LOCOG, as the
more powerful organisation with greater responsibility for the success
of the Games, would prevail.
Other options include devising a way of using both Sportsmail columnist
Thompson and Redgrave, plumping for a compromise candidate or pursuing a
different route, such as incorporating a child born on the day London
won the bid in 2005, to emphasise the legacy promises made by London
Coe and Thompson spent the best years of their careers as team-mates. They each won the first of their two Olympic golds in Moscow in 1980 – Coe in the 1500 metres and Thompson in the ultimate 10-event test of athleticism, the decathlon. They repeated their respective feats four years later in Los Angeles, the Games at which Redgrave won the first of his five gold medals.
Coe and Thompson still speak regularly.
However, neither is thought to be especially friendly with Redgrave
beyond public niceties.
A source close to Coe indicated the antipathy may date back to Redgrave speaking out against Coe joining the London bid board almost a decade ago. However, a LOCOG spokesman denied there was any rift.
Redgrave made some cutting remarks about Thompson in an article in the Evening Standard. He said: 'Obviously, Daley was a great athlete. Some people, Seb Coe included, think he's the best athlete ever. My personal view is that he doesn't make the top five of great British Olympians.
'I'd put Seb above him, and Kelly Holmes, certainly Ben Ainslie, and, all modesty aside, myself and Matt Pinsent. Arguably, Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins deserve to be rated higher. I say that because, to me, athletes compete at the decathlon if they are great all-rounders instead of being supreme in one event.'
It seems extremely unlikely that David Beckham will light the cauldron, which will burn in the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London, throughout the Games. Both the BOA and LOCOG feel an Olympian should fulfil the task. But he will almost certainly have another role, such as running with the torch in the lead-up to the lighting.
A LOCOG spokeswoman said: 'Discussions are taking place.'