Beckham handed key torch role

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David Beckham was handed a key role in last night's opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic games - helping deliver the Olympic torch along the river Thames to the Olympic stadium in Stratford.

Beckham formed part of a stunning ceremony in east London which marked the official opening of the games, with Sir Steve Redgrave handed the honour of taking the flame, which had travelled 8,000 miles around Greinto the stadium before giving it to a group of young athletes who lit the torch that will burn for the duration of the games.

Beckham had initially been expected to be taking part in the Olympics as part of Team GB's football squad having played a key role in the successful bid back in 2005, however coach Stuart Pearce opted to exclude the 37-year-old from his squad in favour of Manchester City's Micah Richards.

Bid leader Lord Sebastian Coe admitted he was disappointed that Beckham had been left out of the squad, but insisted that he would be handed a role in the ceremony.

After speeding down the Thames with the torch, Beckham, who was born within a few miles of the Olympic Park which will host many of the events across the next 17 days, spoke of the special feeling he felt at playing a central role on such a momentous night in British history.

"The excitement building throughout the city is incredible," he said.

"To have an Olympic Games in London is amazing but to have it in an area where I grew up, I'm very proud to have been part of that for the last eight years."

England's most-capped outfield player added: "I think we are all ready now."

David Beckham
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