Sir Steve reveals Olympic dream
BRITAIN'S greatest Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave has described his next and probably last burning ambition – to light the London Olympic flame in 2012.And at a celebrity golf event for his Sir Steve Redgrave Charitable Trust in Essex yesterday, the five-times rowing gold medallist also backed his main rival for the honour, Seb Coe, to be named this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
BRITAIN'S greatest Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave has described his next and probably last burning ambition - to light the London Olympic flame in 2012.
And at a celebrity golf event for his Sir Steve Redgrave Charitable Trust in Essex yesterday, the five-times rowing gold medallist also backed his main rival for the honour, Seb Coe, to be named this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
In an exclusive interview with the EADT at the Five Lakes Resort, near Tolleshunt Knights, the giant oarsman said if he were to be invited to light the Olympic flame in seven years' time, it would “top everything”.
He said: “It would be the greatest of honours - it would top everything I've achieved. I've been involved with the Olympics much of my life as a competitor and recently with the media, but I'll be 50 in 2012 and if I was asked to light the flame it would be a very special occasion.
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“It's one of the things as an athlete watching the opening ceremony in the stadium that you are left wondering who's going to be at the end of the torch relay. It just goes through your mind.
“I'm the best Olympian this country's ever produced, but I'd imagine Seb and Kelly Holmes are also strong candidates, but, yes, I would love to do it.
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“However, there's a long way to go before then and the main thing now is to deliver the games and reach the high expectations we've created.”
Asked what his involvement with the delivery team would be, he said: “It's a good question - I'm not sure yet. I want to be involved. I've been chairman of the athletes' advisory group and I hope that carries on.
“It's right that Seb should continue to lead the team - he's done a fantastic job. I heard yesterday people suggesting him for BBC Sport Personality of the Year. My first thoughts were that what he's done is not really sport, but the more I think about it the more I think it is. He's certainly a sports personality and unless something massive happens in the Ashes cricket series, he'll have my vote.
“The Olympics will leave an enormous legacy, not only for the East End, but for the whole country.
“Many of the training facilities will be portable so it's quite possible that one or two could end up here in Essex,” he added.
Along with the help of former Liverpool and England goalkeeper Ray Clemence, snooker star Steve Davis, athlete Kriss Akabusi and comedian Bobby Davro, yesterday's EDF Energy golf day was expected to raise more than £30,000 for Sir Steve's trust.
All money, including a matched amount from EDF Energy, will be donated to Mencap.
Despite suffering a shoulder injury several years ago, Sir Steve plays off a handicap of 15. He said yesterday: “Our target has been to raise £5million in five years and we've so far got £3million, but we're into our final year now.
“The charity work has meant a lot to me since I retired - I wanted to use my profile to give something back.”