The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are not far away and William Hill has framed a market on the identity of Great Britain’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony on Friday 5 August.
Men have carried Great Britain’s flag at six of the last seven Summer Olympic Games opening ceremonies, with Kate Howey (2004) being the exception to the rule. Lucinda Green (1984) and Howey are the only women to carry Great Britain’s flag at a Summer Olympic Games opening ceremony since the mid 1960’s so one thinks that the odds favour the British Olympic Committee ignoring the claims of Wiggins and other men because there are so many legitimate female contenders.
Bradley Wiggins, the four-time Olympic Games gold medallist and 2012 Tour de France general classification winner, heads William Hill‘s list at odds of +250 . Wiggins is a thoroughly likeable individual and one would not begrudge him carrying Great Britain’s flag at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony. But Wiggins has received many accolades, including a knighthood, as a result of his performances and he may represent both the wrong sex and the wrong sport.
Then there is the fact that Wiggins is a cycling superstar. Chris Hoy, another knighted bicycle rider, carried Great Britain’s flag at the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony after performing the duty at the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as well. Is the British Olympic Committee likely to choose Wiggins given all that?
Of the women in William Hill’s list, Jessica Ennis-Hill is the shortest priced option at odds of +500 . Ennis-Hill won women’s heptathlon gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, overcoming huge pressure to post a personal best of 6,955 points. Ennis-Hill missed the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games due to her planned pregnancy but she won the women’s heptathlon world title in 2015 and the British public love her. Athletics is, arguably, the quintessential Summer Olympic Games sport and yet no track and field star has carried Great Britain’s flag at an opening ceremony since Lynn Davies had the honour in 1968. One would argue that Ennis-Hill should be William Hill‘s favourite so odds of +500 are too good to pass up about the 30-year-old woman.
William Hill’s odds about interesting women are sufficiently long for one to dutch several females in the race to be the British flag bearer at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony. One is willing to omit Christine Ohuruogu (odds of 11.00) due to her athletics claims being inferior to those of Ennis-Hill, while the other women whom William Hill are listing at odds of under +4000 are Nicola Adams ( +1100 ), Fran Halsall ( +2500 ), Hannah Miley ( +2500 ) and Charlotte Dujardin ( +2800 ). Adams and Dujardin won gold medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games so, if any woman is going to get the honour ahead of Ennis-Hill, one suspects that it will be one of them. Dutching Ennis-Hill, Adams and Dujardin results in a wager that boasts odds slightly greater than +250 .
There is no set time for when the British Olympic Committee will announce which competitor will carry Great Britain’s flag at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening ceremony but, with many countries making earlier than usual announcements, it may pay to bet on Ennis-Hill, Adams and Dujardin soon.
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are scheduled to run from Friday 5 August to Sunday 21 August. Ennis-Hill, Adams and Dujardin have indicated that they will not boycott the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in spite of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
Dutch Ennis-Hill, Dujardin and Adams to be British Flag Bearer
Rio Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, 5th August 2016
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