Beckham: Gold medallist should light Olympic flame, not me

The 37-year-old has declared he should not be the one to light the torch for London 2012 despite being an ambassador to the Games and being born close to the stadium
David Beckham has ruled himself out of lighting the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games.

Beckham has been part of the 2012 team from the bidding process, which was completed in 2005 when the Games were awarded to London. Since then Beckham has been an ambassador and remains determined to carry on that role despite being left out of the Team GB footballing side.

But the former Manchester United man believes the role of lighting the flame at the opening ceremony should go to an Olympian who has previously won medals for Great Britain, not him.

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"I've always said, lighting the torch in the stadium is something that should be done by an Olympian, who has done incredible things for our country and won gold medals," Beckham told reporters.

"I'm sure whoever decides that, it will be an Olympian, but we'll have to wait and see."

The LA Galaxy midfielder had hoped to make it into the 18-man squad for the games as one of the three players over the age of 23. However, manager Stuart Pearce decided to call up Craig Bellamy, Micah Richards and captain Ryan Giggs.

The former England captain admitted he was still disappointed with the decision to be left out, but is pleased that Giggs has been given the chance to play at a major tournament having missed out during his international career with Wales.

He added: "Everyone knows how proud I am of representing my country and to do it in my home town on such a big stage would have been incredible so, of course, I'm disappointed, but life goes on.

"My family are healthy, I'm pretty healthy, so at the end of the day, I'll be there to support the GB team.

"It's going to be a proud moment to be there and know that I was part of bringing the Olympics to the East End of London.

"Ryan has had such an amazing career with Manchester United, and with the Wales team as well.

"He may have not made the finals of a competition but the way that he has represented Manchester United and Wales over the years, he deserves to be there.

"It would have been great to be there with him — I’ve got some great memories of playing with him at Manchester United.

"I hope he gets a gold medal."

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Beckham also revealed that he has been inundated with support from family, friends and fans alike, and he is hoping that Team GB can pick up as many gold medals as possible

He continued: "The support has been incredible, the letters that I've got, phone calls that I've got.

"Of course, I've had support from my family and friends, they are the ones that care and know how disappointed I am and I was at the time.

"Like I said, life moves on and I hope the GB team go to the Olympics and win as many medals, as many gold medals as possible."

Team GB will play a friendly against Brazil at Middlesbrough's Riverside stadium on July 20 before getting the tournament underway six days later vs Senegal at Old Trafford.