Hunt: Torchbearer 'all but finalised'

Hunt: Torchbearer 'all but finalised'
By Eurosport

21/07/2012 at 20:10Updated 21/07/2012 at 20:14

Andy Hunt, one of two men charged with deciding who will be the final torchbearer at next week's Olympic opening ceremony, has claimed a decision has been all but finalised.

Hunt, the chief executive of the British Olympic Association and Team GB chef de mission, is joining forces with organising committee chief executive Paul Deighton to make the call on one of the most hotly-debated elements of the £30 million showpiece.

Both their respective bosses, the BOA's Colin Moynihan and Locog's Seb Coe, have absolved themselves of all responsibility, which considering recent spats between the pair is probably no bad thing.

Moynihan is on record as supporting fellow rower Steve Redgrave, who with five gold medals in five Games is Britain's most successful Olympian.

But Coe wants close friend Daley Thompson, a double decathlon gold medallist in 1980 and 1984, to have the honour.

Reports have suggested heated discussions between Hunt and Deighton over the choice while Danny Boyle's ceremonies team, where creative tensions are currently running very high, have also had their input.

"It's a joint decision and discussions have taken place over quite some time. The ceremonies committee will and have made recommendations, which we can choose to support or not," said Hunt.

"The debate is ongoing but there is a mutually acceptable solution. All the debate has been very positive but it's a big topic.

"I can't disclose the criteria we used but I'm sure everyone will be immensely proud with the outcome of the debates we had. It will be a wow moment and we don't have long to wait."

Some believe that the way the flame is lit will have more resonance with the watching one billion strong world audience than who fulfils the task - citing the high wire act in Beijing and flaming archer, 20 years ago in Barcelona, as examples.

Others think that the honour should go to the athlete who has contributed the most to Olympic sport.

Redgrave, who carried the Olympic flame in Henley earlier this month, has said he believes a group of athletes will be involved - like the members of the 1980 USA 'Miracle on Ice' ice hockey team, who lit the flame at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.