There's nothing like a little bit of superstar power to give Britain the push it needs to make a deep run in London 2012.
According to the Daily Mail, David Beckham's campaign to become a part of his nation's Olympic squad has been successful, as he's been added to Stuart Pearce's initial 35-man roster for this summer's games.
Though there's no certainty that Beckham will be a part of the final 18-man roster that must be decided by July 6, there's virtually no chance he'll be left off. The nation is in a frenzy now that their suspicions have been confirmed and Beckham is participating in the festivities, especially after speculation back in 2010 that his time with the national team had come to an end.
Apparently, when you're David Beckham, you're never too old for the Olympics.
At this point, cutting Beckham would be like cutting Michael Jordan from the US Men's basketball squad if he decided tomorrow that he wanted to play. Beckham may be 37, but he's the most recognizable name and face on Britain's roster, and he still holds a near and dear place in the hearts of the fans.
Plus, he really wants this.
Earlier this week, in the midst of a press tour seemingly aimed at securing a spot on the national team, Beckham told The Today Show's Meredith Vieira that he needed to participate in order to be able to afford the wardrobes of his four children with wife Victoria. On a more serious note, he also told Vieira he refuses to believe that the only reason he'll get a spot on the roster is because he is Britain's most recognizable Burger King spokesperson and underwear model.
He told Vieira (via OK! Magazine):
I don't really take too much interest in those kind of comments. But I have said that I felt that those comments are disrespectful, because I've had kind of a successful career with what I do. … I'm very proud of what I've achieved in my career so far. I've obviously played for the national team for quite a few years, and now I want to represent the G.B. team in the Olympics.
Pearce is permitted to include three players over the age of 23 on his roster. In addition to Beckham, other possibilities include Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.
Beckham clearly brings a lot to the table in terms of popularity, but how successful is he expected to be at 37 years old? In the 2012 MLS season, he registered just two goals and three assists in 11 games. But this is a player who is one of the most recognizable faces in professional sports—never mind in Britain alone—and he missed the 2010 World Cup in 2010 because of an Achilles injury.
It's no crime that he wants to represent his country one more time in the twilight of his career. It's a win-win situation: He gets one more shot at glory, and the British team gets a player who is going to create immense international buzz.
Whatever Beckham wants to believe, it's clear that he's not on the team because of his performance on the field, but does it matter? Even if his heyday is over, he's capitalizing on a reputation he built by becoming one of the best soccer players in the world.
He got to this point by putting the ball in the net, not by modeling underwear. There's no crime in capitalizing on it now.