Lighting the flame

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
July 27, 2012, 1:41 PM UTC

26% Britons interested in Olympics make Sir Steve Redgrave strong favourite to light London Flame

Sir Steve Redgrave is far and away the interested public's favourite to light the Olympic torch at the Games Opening Ceremony in London this evening, shows our poll.

Redgrave beat off stiff competition from our extensive list of current and former sportsmen and women to take away over a quarter of the interested British public vote ‒ double the share of next-favourite David Beckham and far ahead of third-favourite Daley Thompson.

  • 26% of respondents who profess an interest in the Olympic games would like to see Steve Redgrave light the torch at the Games Opening Ceremony, taking place this evening
  • 13% chose David Beckham, putting him next-favourite
  • 9% thought Daley Thompson should be the athlete for the job
  • While Dame Kelly Holmes was fourth in line on 5%
  • Sir Chris Hoy ‒ who will actually be carrying the Union Jack during the Team GB athletes' procession ‒ was picked by 4%
  • And a mention should go to former Olympic runner and current London Organising Committee (LOCOG) champion Lord Sebastian Coe, who was chosen for the torch job by 3%  

After years, months and weeks of intense excitement, organisation, preparation, publicity, sponsorship and, of course, a little bit of British grumbling thrown in, the 2012 Olympic Games will finally open in London's Stratford Park tonight.

Themed 'Isles of Wonder', the Danny Boyle-designed ceremony will feature a 'green and pleasant land', including real-life farm animals, the largest harmonically-tuned bell in Europe, performers including many highlighting the NHS, and the welcoming of Queen Elizabeth II by International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

A traditional part of the ceremony, the lighting of the 'Cauldron' by the final Torchbearer always promises to be a spectacular moment, and this year should be no exception as the torch completes its seventy-day journey around the UK to remain lit in Stratford for the duration of the Games. However, the identity of the final Torchbearer is still a carefully-guarded secret, with organisers suggesting the decision has yet to be made even at this late stage.

British Olympic Association chief Andy Hunt has so far refused to say whether the person chosen would be an Olympian, despite speculation that Sir Steve Redgrave, Daley Thompson and Dame Kelly Holmes are among the potential candidates.

“The debate is ongoing. We have a mutually agreeable solution, a good solution to the outcome. We are still in final discussions," he said.

This article is part of a series in the run up to the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony highlighting YouGov's research on what Britain thinks about London 2012

See the survey details and full results here

See the full Press Release on our most recent Olympics research here