International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge supported the decision to omit David Beckham from the British soccer squad at the London Olympics in comments to CNN on Wednesday.
Rogge said that it was British coach Stuart Pearce’s job to select the best players to give the host squad their best chance for success when the London Olympic tournament opens later this month.
“If the head coach decides not to field the player, that’s the end of it,” Rogge said. “This is not an issue for sentiment. It’s not an issue for nostalgia. It’s about being the best athlete in the world in your own place, in your own sport.”
Rogge, 70, said he would have “loved” to have seen former England soccer captain Beckham, a major player in the bidding to bring the Games to London, on the field in the Olympics.
“He has done a great job in bidding for the Games,” Rogge said. “He has a great personality. He has a very likeable person, but it’s the law of sport.”
Rogge said he planned to watch competition in all 26 sports on offer at the London Games, looking forward to seeing a swimming showdown between US stars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and the men’s 100m athletics final on Aug. 5.
“I want to see the fight between Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in the sprint,” Rogge said.
Blake defeated Bolt, the reigning 100m and 200m Olympic champion and world record holder, in both events at last weekend’s Jamaican Olympic trials.