Who will light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony?
Ali did it for Atlanta, so who will get the honour of opening London's Games?
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Friday 27 July 2012
Widely adjudged to have been cruelly snubbed by his omission from the Great Britain football team, Beckham has already made it known he has a "small part" in the opening ceremony. Rumours abound he will be kicking a flaming ball. But will it be into the cauldron?
Torch rating 3
The man who demolished the four-minute mile barrier is one of Britain's greatest-ever athletes and, at 83, would link past and present glory. But he did not win an Olympic medal, coming fourth in the 1,500m at the 1952 Games.
Torch rating 4
Winner of two golds in the decathlon in 1980 and 1984, there is no doubting Thompson's grandeur. He's no shrinking violet, having declared himself Britain's greatest Olympian, ahead of the rower Sir Steve Redgrave.
Torch rating 3
William and Kate
What better advert for Britain than its royal newlyweds opening the Olympics? A fusion of tradition and modernity. They could even don the Team GB strip.
Torch rating 0
As a 14-year-old basketball player from East Ham (a few miles from the Olympic Park), Amber helped win London's bid in 2005 as part of a delegation of 30 schoolchildren who accompanied Lord Coe to the vote in Singapore. She did not make the British team but it would be a virtuous circle if the girl who helped win the Games helped to start it.
Torch rating 2
Sir Steve Redgrave
The winner of five successive gold medals, Sir Steve is Britain's uber-Olympian and a worthy candidate to light the cauldron, especially after organisers said the ceremony would honour "some of our truly great Olympians". But Sir Steve says he's received "no calls" about it.
Torch rating 4.5
Five of the above
One scenario is a coming together of five great athletes in one moment of cauldron ignition. Barcelona had an archer firing a burning arrow. Maybe London will see Sir Steve Redgrave rowing up the stage for Danny Boyle's extravaganza with his fellow heroes in gold life jackets.
Torch rating 3.5
Don't tell a soul, but here's a glimpse of tonight's big show
Fake rain clouds, a firework spectacular, a traditional rural setting and questionable use of farm animals: is anything in Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony going to be a surprise? It would seem so, as YouTube has removed footage of this week's rehearsals after spectators filmed proceedings.
However, a 30-second clip released last night to the BBC showed hundreds of dancers under a light, nurses dancing arm in arm, yet more dancers on a flame-coloured backdrop, and some strange winged creatures on bikes. So that's what all the fuss is about.
Welsh midfielder is given unwanted transfer to England
David Cameron has been at pains to emphasise that the London Olympics will be of benefit to the entirety of the UK, so the news that Games organisers have been forced to apologise for Welsh midfielder Joe Allen being listed as English in the Team GB programme will hardly be what the Prime Minister wants to hear. The 22-year-old Swansea City player, who speaks fluent Welsh, is a member of the Great Britain squad that tackled Senegal at Old Trafford last night. Also competing are Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy, Aaron Ramsey and Neil Taylor, who have all been correctly identified as Welsh. The Games organisers said: "We apologise for this mistake."
The programmes will be reprinted.
Surprise, this is one show that you can't see on YouTube
Fake rain clouds, a firework spectacular, a traditional rural setting and questionable use of farm animals: is anything in Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony going to be a surprise?
It would certainly seem so, as YouTube has been particularly stringent in removing footage of this week's rehearsals. Despite Boyle urging spectators to keep the details secret, as well as the Twitter hashtag #savethesurprise being displayed on giant screens, some filmed proceedings and uploaded their videos. One YouTube clip was replaced with: "This video contains content from the International Olympic Committee, who has blocked it on copyright grounds."
Pregnant woman aims to defy doubters
A Malaysian shooter is fulfilling her Olympic dream despite being eight months' pregnant. Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, 29, will compete at the Royal Artillery Barracks in the 10m air rifle event. She said she thought her hopes of competing were over when she fell pregnant. "Some people say I'm crazy. Some say I'm too selfish. But I just ignore what others say. I just concentrate on what I dream of," she said.
Should she win gold, it would not be the first time a pregnant athlete has triumphed. The Swedish figure-skater Magda Julin won the ladies' singles in the 1920 Games.
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