By Tom Degun

Sir Steve_Redgrave_carrying_the_Olympic_torchMarch 25 - Sir Steve Redgrave (pictured), Britain's greatest-ever Olympian, does not believe he will be chosen to light the Olympic Flame at the London 2012 Opening Ceremony on July 27 because they will pick an unknown, despite him being the 4/6 favourite with the bookmakers.

The 50-year-old, who won five Olympic gold medals in five consecutive Olympic Games from Los Angeles 1984 through to Sydney 2000, has long been the favourite to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony on July 27 due to his huge contribution to the Olympic Movement in Britain.

But he has revealed that at the moment he is only scheduled to carry the Olympic Torch on July 10 - 17 days before the Opening Ceremony.

Sir Steve fears that rules him out of contender for the big job and believes that London 2012 will not go for a big name to light the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremony.

"Back at the London 1948 Olympic Games, a relatively unknown athlete lit the Flame to start the Games," he told insidethegames, referring to the unheralded 400 metre runner John Mark (pictured below) who lit the cauldron in 1948, aged just 21, largely because he was considered to have 'Olympian' good looks.

"I think that something similar might happen this time around and I completely respect that.

"I am delighted just to know I will be involved along the way on July 10 and it will definitely be a very proud moment for me.

"The July 10 leg goes from Oxford to Reading via many other places but I think I am down to be doing one of the legs in Henley.

"I think it goes on the water so I don't know if they are expecting me to go on the water with it!

"I would have thought that they would have got people like Matthew [Pinsent], Tim [Foster] and James [Cracknell] and some of the other rowers all at the same place to do it together [Redgrave, Pinsent, Foster and Cracknell having been the quartet who claimed victory in the Sydney 2000 Coxless Four where Redgrave took his fifth gold].

John Mark_March_22
"But I know Matthew is carrying it on the July 26 so we won't be doing it together."

Sir Steve is one of only four Olympians to have won a gold medal at five consecutive Olympic Games.

He has carried the British flag at the opening of the Olympic Games on two occasions and last year received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award from International Olympic Committee (IOC) member the Princess Royal.

But he admits that carrying the London 2012 Olympic Torch still will be one of his proudest moments despite having carried it twice before.

"It will be the third time that I will carry the Olympic Torch as I carried it before Athens in 2004 and before Beijing in 2008," he said.

"Both times I carried the Torch, it was in London so it will be very nice to be doing it nearer my home when I carry it in Henley."

It is perhaps rather fitting that Sir Steve is carrying the Olympic Torch in the South Oxfordshire town that is home to Henley Royal Regatta, the famous rowing event held there every year.

There is a chance, however, that he may still light the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremony.

Australia's 400 metre icon Cathy Freeman set such a precedent carrying the Olympic Flame during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch Relay before lighting the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony.

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