Although David Beckham said he couldn’t reveal any details about his participation in Friday’s opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London, the former England football player said he was “surprised” with what he was asked to do.
“I didn’t expect it, and I’m really honored,” Beckham told “Nightline.” “I grew up on the side of London where the Olympics is happening. It’s a proud moment for us, you know, East End boys.”
Much of what will take place at the opening ceremony is shrouded in mystery, including who will light the iconic flame. But Beckham said Olympics viewers can expect something with a “very traditional English feel.”
“There is so much excitement in London at the moment, and I feel that we do big competitions and big spectacular occasions like this really well,” he said. “Our country all comes together and the Union Jacks come out and it’s a real kind of English feel, which is special.”
As is tradition, the opening ceremony is expected to have a final torch relay inside the stadium with a number of celebrities, superstar athletes, former Olympic medalists and others. The Olympic torch, which left Land’s End, England, on May 19, has been making its way through more than 1,000 towns in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
This will be the first time Great Britain has had a team in the Olympic Games since 1960, but Beckham, who is captain of the Los Angeles Galaxy team in the American MLS, was not chosen to play for his native country.
“It hurts a lot,” he said. “I’m disappointed not to be involved as an athlete in the Olympics, but I’m a fan now. I’m a fan anyway.”
Despite being left out, the 37-year-old midfielder said he is not ready to hang up his cleats yet.
“I want to continue playing as long as possible,” he said. “I still think I can play at the highest level, and I don’t feel like I should stop anytime soon.”