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Beckham to bring back Olympic flame to UK for final run

Soccer icon David Beckham and Princess Anne will receive the Olympic flame in Athens and bring it back to Britain for the final 70-day torch relay in the country.

The former England captain will make the first official Olympic appearance tomorrow alongside Princess Anne in the UK delegation that will receive the flame in the historic Panathenaic Stadium in the Greek capital.

The Princess Royal, president of the British Olympic Association and a former Olympian, will formally accept the torch in Athens, and will also carry the flame in a lantern off the plane onto UK soil in Cornwall on Friday evening, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The princess, along with Beckham and a delegation including Sebastian Coe, Chair of London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), will fly home with the flame on a specially commissioned plane.

Anne has been selected to receive the torch to reflect her position as President of the British Olympic Association (BOA) and a former Olympian, as well as the Queen's daughter.

The successful London 2012 bid started with the BOA so it is appropriate that it should be responsible for bringing the flame, lit last week from the rays of the sun in Olympia, to the UK.

Beckham's presence is designed to boost interest and enthusiasm for the 70-day torch relay that will begin on Saturday morning at Land's End and cover 8,000 miles on its way to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on July 27.

He is a London 2012 ambassador and was a member of the bid team in Singapore in 2005, and is hopeful of a place in Stuart Pearce's G B football team for the Games.

He will be among the candidates, albeit a controversial one, to light the Olympic cauldron in the stadium.

Apart from Anne and Beckham, the London 2012 delegation will include the sports minister Hugh Robertson, London mayor Boris Johnson and a number of young people who have taken part in London 2012's Get Set Education programme.

They will receive the flame in the Panathenaic Stadium tomorrow at the end of its seven-day relay around Greece.

The Olympic games are to be held in London between 27th July and 12th August this year.
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