By Bill Carey
July 27, 2012

Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes, is now the betting favorite to light the Olympic Flame at tonight's Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics, reports Yahoo! Sports' Martin Rogers.

The 83-year-old Bannister has moved from a long shot to the favorite in recent days, Rogers reports.

Danny Boyle, the director of the Opening Ceremony, has asked people who have seen the rehearsal to "save the surprise."

But Rogers reports that Bannister's odds have dropped sharply in recent days because of speculation that has leaked about the event being set up for an older runner.

"He went from 6:1 to 1:1 and he was 33:1 just a few days ago," a spokesman for William Hill, a bookmaker chain, told Rogers. "It seems a bit illogical as he has no strong link with the Games."

Bannister never won an Olympic medal, but he made history on May 6, 1954, when he broke four minutes at Iffley Road Track at Oxford University. He was also knighted in 1975. With a place in athletic history and prominence in British society, Bannister would likely be a well-received choice.

For more on Bannister, see this 2011 profile by David Epstein. Also, check out this gallery of SI Sportsman of the Year winners -- the first of whom was Bannister. 

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