David Beckham Helps Bring Olympic Flame from Athens to Britain

Soccer player and Team Great Britain hopeful joins Princess Anne to collect the famed fire

By Rebecca Macatee May 17, 2012 7:44 PMTags
Watch: David Beckham at Olympic Torch Ceremony

On Tuesday, David Beckham was being honored by Barack Obama at the White House; two days later, he's escorting the Olympic Torch from Athens to the U.K.!

The 37-year-old soccer stud joined officials at a handover ceremony Thursday at Greece's ancient Panathenaic Stadium. The athlete, along with Princess Anne and other British officials, will travel with the flame to a naval base in Cornwall in the southwest of England.

From there, the torch goes on a 70-day-long, 8,000-mile journey around the U.K., ending up at London's Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony July 27. It will burn until the Aug. 12 closing ceremony.

Although Beckham is perhaps the world's most famous soccer star and a London 2012 ambassador, he's not necessarily guaranteed a spot on Team Great Britain. London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe recently told reporters the committee had put "no pressure" on coach Stuart Pearce to pick Beckham. "He has to pick the team he thinks can lift the trophy," he added.

This year's team will be the first united British soccer team to compete in the Olympics since 1960.