‘Solution’ reached on lighter of Olympic cauldron

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Olympics minister Hugh Robertson is out of the decision-making loop, but Coe or Redgrave would be his cauldron choice.

“It is the most closely guarded secret in the book. There is a tiny community of three or four people who are doing this,” he said. “Personally, I would love to see Seb do it because I think he has contributed more to the Olympic movement than anybody else in this country.

“If, on the other hand, you judge it on athletic terms you can’t do any better than Sir Steve Redgrave with more gold medals than anybody else.”

Other contenders to ignite the cauldron are Holmes, who won a middle-distance double at the 2004 Athens Games, and Bannister, the first runner to break the 4-minute barrier for the mile in 1954.

But could more than one person complete the final, most prestigious leg of the 8,000-mile (12,900-kilometer) relay around Britain?

Pairing a sporting great with a youngster from the downtrodden east London area the games is helping to transform would reinforce the legacy message at the heart of the winning bid in 2005. It would also mesh with the “Inspire a generation” slogan of the games.

Asked how they will combine providing drama with recognizing sporting achievement, Hunt responded: “I think it will be a ‘wow’ moment and bring together both of those dimensions.”

There is pressure to exceed the theatrics at recent opening ceremonies and provide images remembered long after the closing ceremony on Aug. 12.

An archer launched a flaming arrow at the cauldron in Barcelona in 1992. Muhammad Ali, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, held the torch high and bent over to light a wire that led to the 1996 cauldron in Atlanta. Cathy Freeman lit a ring of fire in a pool of water four years later in Sydney.

But there is another enduring, crucial secret about the cauldron.

Just where will it be?

There appears to be no space within the enclosed 486 million pound ($759 million) stadium bowl. There is, however, a perfect spot on top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower, a red sculpture of twisted steel next to the stadium.

But, like with the identity of the final torchbearer, organizers are keeping the mystery going. For another few days, at least.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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