David Beckham has been given a last minute call to take part in the Olympics opening ceremony to be watched by nearly four billion global audience, a gesture to thank him for helping to get the games to London.
Organisers have “specially created” a part for Beckham in Friday’s opening ceremony. “He’s really excited and delighted at being involved in the Olympics. It is in his home city so it couldn’t get any better. It’s going to be very special,” a source close to him said. The former England captain, one of the prime campaigners for the London 2012 Games, is said to be in talks about his exact involvement. “David will have a starring role in the games and he is excited at the prospect. Meetings will be held this week.
It’s going to be a big, big surprise,” an Olympics source was quoted by The People as saying. Beckham, 37, was expected to be part of the Britain’s football squad in recognition of his work in helping London win its bid to host the Games at the 2005 International Olympic Committee vote in Singapore. His presence on the campaign trail was seen as a key factor in the final days of lobbying alongside Lord Coe and then Prime Minister Tony Blair. But manager of the football team Stuart Pearce left the former Manchester United and Real Madrid ace out.
The LA Galaxy player was so disappointed and angered by the decision that he threatened to boycott the Olympics altogether. “Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me,” Beckham had said at the time. “So I would have been honoured to have been part of this unique Team GB squad.” Lord Coe, in charge of the 2012 organising committee, was also taken aback by the snub and began plotting a way of ensuring Beckham had a proper part to play in the festivities. Speculation that he could light the Olympic torch has proven to be wide of the mark.
As he is not an Olympian, he is not eligible under the rules of the International Olympic Committee. Suggestions he could be one of the eight Britons to carry the Olympic flag into the stadium were also dismissed. Instead, organisers have added in a section of the ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on Friday night to accommodate Beckham. Negotiations will take place tomorrow on the fine detail of the role and Beckham is expected to fly in for final rehearsals from the US, where he has an LA Galaxy game this weekend.
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