Thu, Jul 26, 2012 - Page 19 News List

LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS: Beckham says he will have a role at opening ceremony

AP, LONDON

David Beckham will have a role in the opening ceremony at the Olympics.

The English soccer star had hoped to play for Britain’s team at the Games, but he was not included in the squad by coach Stuart Pearce. However, there will be a spot for him tomorrow at Olympic Stadium.

“It is some kind of role in the opening ceremony, which I am honored to be involved in because obviously I was involved in the start process with this seven years ago,” Beckham said. “And for Seb [Sebastian Coe] to have kept me involved, I’m very proud of that.”

However, in keeping with the national “save the surprise” campaign, Beckham would not divulge any further details about his role.

One obvious role would be to serve as one of the final torchbearers to help complete the 12,900km relay around Britain in the stadium, although it is expected a former Olympian will be given the honor of lighting the cauldron.

There is speculation that Muhammad Ali could also play a role in the opening ceremony, after the boxing great came to London to appear on Tuesday alongside Beckham at an event in London.

“He stood for so many amazing things throughout his life, whether it’s what he did in the ring or outside of the ring,” Beckham said at the Beyond Sport conference. “His life and his career was all about survival and he is an amazing man.”

Beckham has sensed Olympic fever gripping London on Tuesday with just three days until the opening ceremony.

“I was at the stadium yesterday and the park yesterday and you can feel the kind of atmosphere building, the excitement building,” Beckham said. “I was brought up around this side of London and, you know, to actually see the changes that have happened and the excitement that’s going on is a proud moment.”

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