Bookmaker refunds all bets on lighter of Olympic cauldron
LONDON, England (AFP) — One of Britain's leading bookmakers has refunded all the bets they'd taken on who would light the Olympic cauldron after the honour was given to seven young athletes.
Traditionally, the flame is lit by a significant Olympic figure from the host country and Britain's five-times rowing gold medallist Steve Redgrave had been strongly favoured to carry out the task at Friday's opening ceremony.
But although Redgrave took the torch into the Olympic Stadium, he then helped pass it on to the seven junior sportsmen and women who actually lit the cauldron itself.
With no one figure lighting the cauldron, William Hill — one of Britain's biggest bookmakers — refunded all bets yesterday, saying the outcome had been "all but impossible to predict".
"We have been betting on who will light the cauldron since London was awarded the Games, when we installed Sir Steve (Redgrave) as our 3/1 favourite," Hill's spokesman Rupert Adams said yesterday.
"In total we have quoted over 50 athletes and celebrities, but the result was all but impossible to predict. As a result we have refunded a five-figure sum."
But that was not quite the end of Hill's opening ceremony betting, with the firm cutting its odds on movie director Danny Boyle, who oversaw the £27 million (US$42 million) celebration of British history and culture, receiving a knighthood and being able to call himself 'Sir Danny' from 4/1 to 7/4.
"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," Adams added.