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You can get odds on 007 at the opening ceremony

Sean Connery as James Bond in From Russia With Love


You can wager on most things in England, and the betting shops are doing brisk business this week.

At midday on Friday you could have a punt on who will light the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony.

Britain's all-time leading medal winner, rower Sir Stephen Redgrave, is the man mentioned most often in newspaper speculation, and is the joint odds-makers favourite at 6-4 with iconic runner Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run the mile in under four minutes.

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Two-time decathlon gold medalist Daley Thompson, another of the country's sporting legends, was listed at 16-1.

Games organizers have hinted the final torchbearer will be a nod to the UK's past athletic glories, but Queen Elizabeth was listed as a 4-1 favourite, followed by soccer player David Beckham at 7-1.

Never let it be said the English betting public doesn't have a soft spot - consider it a sympathy vote for a guy left off the British Olympic soccer team.

Strangely, Beckham is joined at 7-1 by James Bond.

"I wonder which James Bond?" said Emie, a clerk at the Ladbrokes branch in Oxford Circus, a busy central London shopping hub. "That Daniel Craig bloke? Or maybe all of them?"

Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins is a 33-1 favourite, you can get steep odds for the Princess Royal, Lord Sebastian Coe and Prime Minister David Cameron (all at 50-1).

For what it's worth, the punters in Ladbrokes were more interested in betting on the horses running on the myriad tv screens in the place.

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They may have done well to diversify, someone will surely trouser a tidy little pile when the most talked about moment of the opening ceremonies takes place this evening.

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About the Author
National Correspondent

Sean Gordon joined the Globe's Quebec bureau in 2008 and covers the Canadiens, Alouettes and Impact, as well as Quebec's contingent of Olympic athletes. More


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