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Fourth-Place Medal

Beckham turns down Olympic torch lighting gig no one offered him

Chris Chase
Fourth-Place Medal

(Getty Images)

British football star David Beckham said he doesn't want to light the Olympic flame at the Opening Ceremony later this month, which is a nice coincidence because it's doubtful anyone involved in the decision would have wanted him to either.

Beckham has been a central figure in the Olympics coming to London. He served as an athlete representative during the bid process and has stayed involved in the movement, even after being left off the team's soccer squad for the Games. When the news broke that Beckham wasn't selected for one of the three over-23 slots on the team, speculation immediately turned to him lighting the flame. His odds at a London bookmaker dropped to 5-1, making him a considerable favorite.

[ Related: David Beckham's Olympic dream crushed ]

But Beckham wouldn't want the gig, even if it was offered. (Or so he claims.)

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

[ Photos: David Beckham in action ]

Beckham insinuates he has turned it down but didn't say that he'd actually reject the offer. This is called "adjusting expectations." It's like me announcing that I'm not going to go on a date with Posh Spice because that should only be done by a tattooed soccer star with spiky hair. Since it wasn't going to happen anyway, it allows Beckham to save a little face.

He's earned it. Beckham shouldn't light the flame; he's right, that honor should be reserved for an Olympian. Nonetheless, he's been a good soldier and will likely, and correctly, play a big role in the Opening Ceremony. Just not the biggest.

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