Beckham heading to Olympics in non-playing role, but backs off lighting flame

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Flame out: Beckham already accompanied the Olympic flame from Greece to England, but said he won’t carry it at the opening ceremony (AP Photo).

No word on how much time he will miss for the Galaxy this time:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — David Beckham doesn’t believe he is the right person to light the flame in the opening ceremony of his hometown London Olympics.

“Lighting the torch in the stadium is something that should be done by an Olympian, an Olympian that has done incredible things for our country and has won gold medals,” Beckham said Thursday at Galaxy.

Beckham helped London’s successful bid to win the games and was disappointed to miss out on Britain’s soccer team but said he will have an undisclosed role to play during the Olympics.

“It is yet to be decided, but I will be part of it in some ways,” Beckham said. “I have been
speaking to Seb Coe and a couple of other people about what it is I am going to be doing.”

With more than 100 games for England, Beckham was heartbroken to be left off of the Britain Olympic squad but had kind words for his former Manchester United teammate Ryan Giggs, who will captain the team.

“Ryan has had such an amazing career with Manchester United … he deserves to be there, and it would have been great to be there with him,” Beckham said. “We have a lot of great memories with Manchester United. I have moved on and am getting on with things now and I hope the GB team wins as many medals as possible.”

The 37-year-old Beckham, who grew up in London, can’t wait for the games to begin in two weeks.

“I am going to be just proud to be there as a fan more so than anything,” he said. “In a part of London where I grew up, and I used to play over the soccer fields that have now been changed, and as an Englishman, I am going to be very proud.”

Meanwhile, in the same interview Beckham also lashed out at his critics and took a few shots from his glass house at those that have the temerity to question his absences from MLS.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • SoCalPete

    One could easily argue that his Wimbledon appearance was just as detrimental to the public image OG the league as his onfield temper tantrum.

    Re: his Olympic cheerleading, two questions: was he asked to hold the torch and he declined? If not, how much more pompously presumptuous can you get. Also, it’s clear he negotiated the right to take time off to go _play_ for TeamGB, but did he get in his contract the AOK to go to London to simply watch (cheerlead)?

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    SoCalPete, Leiweke wants Beckham in London, even if Beckham isn’t playing. AEG has a huge investment in the Olympics, especially with AEG owning two of the venues. As long as Beckham has a Galaxy contract, he will be AEG’s most valuable marketing chip.

    Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if AEG asked Beckham to go to London for Wimbledon to do some pre-Olympic groundwork.

    Besides, he probably received an invitation from the Royal Family to attend in their box — and, if you’re a British subject, you just don’t turn down a royal invitation to anything.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Besides, I think Beckham was right in declining the honor of lighting the Olympic torch. I think he was absolutely right about that honor going to a former British Olympian. He might have been asked the question and responded to that question.

    Regarding his comments about his suspension, however, it’s clear that Beckham refuses to take responsibility for anything, and that Leiweke indulges him merely because Beckham is a soccer superstar.

    His behavior at the end of the San Jose game was disgraceful. Now, imagine him doing that at the Olympics. It isn’t hard to do.

  • http://firstsoccerstop.com/index.html rob flint

    Great servent to club and country ! how Belemy was picked over him is a mystery.

    Still thanks for the service