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David Beckham Rejects Idea of Lighting Flame at London Olympics

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July 13 (Bloomberg) -- David Beckham dismissed the idea of lighting the flame to open the London Games, saying the role should go to an Olympian.

The former England soccer team captain who was left off the British Olympic squad said the honor at the July 27 opening ceremony should go to a gold medal winner.

“I’ve always said lighting the torch in the stadium is something that should be done by an Olympian, an Olympian who has done incredible things for our country and won gold medals,” Beckham told reporters in Los Angeles in comments broadcast by Sky Sports News. “I’m sure whoever decides that, it will be an Olympian, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Sky Sports News said five-time rowing gold medalist Steve Redgrave or two-time decathlon champion Daley Thompson are the probable choices to light the torch.

Beckham, 37, had an ambassadorial role in London’s bid to win the 2012 Games and said he’s disappointed in being left out of Team GB by coach Stuart Pearce.

“Everyone knows how proud I am of representing my country, and to do it in my hometown on such a big stage would have been incredible,” said the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder, whose 115 appearances for England are a record for an outfield player.

For now, Beckham said, he’s just looking forward to enjoying the event as a spectator.

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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