by Renee Israel
After a stunning Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday night, all eyes
were on who would light the flame at the stadium to officially open the games.
And so it came as a huge surprise when the honour went to no less than seven
young, relatively unknown athletes.
UK bookmakers have been taking wagers for a while now on the identity of the
torchbearer, with favourites being Sir Roger Bannister, Lord Sebastian Coe,
David Beckham, Daley Thompson and even the Queen herself.
However, when the seven athletes, chosen by British Olympic heroes, stepped
up to light the flame, bookies had to admit that their punters would never have
been able to guess their identity - and therefore promised to refund the wagers.
William Hill to Refund Bets
One of the UK bookies to refund the Olympic bets on the torch lighter
is William Hill.
Like other bookies such as Sky Bet, the bookmaker had no odds on the seven
young athletes, nominated by Lynn Davies, Duncan Goodhew, Dame Kelly Holmes,
Dame Mary Peters, Shirley Robertson, Daley Thompson and Sir Steve Redgrave.
"We have been betting on who will light the cauldron since London was awarded
the games, when we installed Sir Steve as our 3/1 favourite," said a spokesman
for William Hill, Rupert Adams.
"In total, we have quoted over fifty athletes and celebrities, but the result
was all but impossible to predict."
"As a result," he continued, "we have refunded a five figure sum."
Sir Steve Redgrave, who nominated one of the seven young athletes, took the
honour of running into the stadium with the Olympic torch on Friday night.
Bets on for Doyle Knighthood
The Olympic Opening Ceremony was hailed as one of the most impressive of all
times, thanks to the genius and mastery of Danny Boyle. The English film
director is best known for his works on films such as Slumdog Millionaire
(for which he won an Academy Award for Best Director) and Trainspotting,
but he will be forever known from now on as THAT artistic director for the 2012
London Olympic Games, The Isles of Wonder.
Bookies are now offering odds on the chances that Doyle will be handed a
knighthood for his brilliance, with William Hill cutting its odds from 4/1 to
7/4 after the Opening Ceremony.
"The reaction to the opening ceremony has been overwhelming and our customers
think Danny is all but certain to be handed a knighthood in the new year's
honours list," noted William Hill's Rupert Adams.