David Beckham will ignite the Olympic flame in his native England on Friday when the torch arrives in the host nation ahead of this summer’s London Olympics.
The former England national team captain and current Los Angeles Galaxy star will light a cauldron in southwestern England during a ceremony to kick off the 70-day torch relay across the British Isles.
At a ceremony in Athens on Thursday, Greek officials handed the flame over to London 2012 organizers, recognizing Princess Anne, chief organizer Sebastian Coe, London mayor Boris Johnson and “Sir David Beckham.”
The final introduction drew guffaws from the British representatives, because while Beckham is a global icon, he is not a knight.
But Beckham would like to serve his country on the pitch as well as at the cauldron this summer, and Thursday he once again expressed his interest in playing for Great Britain’s soccer team at the summer games.
“I’ve never played in an Olympic Games,” Beckham said. “Obviously, I’d love to.
“I’ve always made it clear that I love representing my country. I’ve done that quite a few times.”
That number is 115, to be exact. But Beckham, 37, has not donned a national team jersey since Oct. 2009.
On Friday, Beckham told BBC Sport that he is in “good form.”
“I think I’ve got a good chance,” he said. “Being involved in the Olympics and being part of the team would be huge.”
Beckham is said to be on coach Stuart Pearce’s 80-man shortlist, which must be trimmed to 18 players for Britain’s first Olympic soccer team since 1960. (In the years since, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have competed independently.)
As for Friday’s ceremony, Beckham has high hopes for that, too.
“I hope it lights,” he said with a grin.
Read the full Associated Press story here.
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