LONDON -- If an aging Muhammad Ali could handle the job, why not the queen?
British odds-makers have made her majesty Queen Elizabeth II a late favorite to light the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Games on Friday night.
This week, most of the speculation has centered on Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to break the 4:00 barrier in the mile, and Sir Steve Redgrave, who won gold medals in rowing at an astonishing five consecutive Olympics.
Those two men remain at the top of the favorites' list. But as the ceremony approaches, the British monarch has closed the gap.
"We've had about 400 bets on the queen," a spokesman for the bookmaker BetFred told The Guardian on Friday. "And the odds have gone right from 25-1 to 5-1."