London Olympics 2012 organizers have announced David Beckham as the torchbearer who will bring the Olympic flame back from Greece as it begins an 8,000 mile tour across the UK.

Beckham, who is a star soccer player for the Los Angeles Galaxy, will join officials at a handover ceremony in Athens on Thursday, May 17.

The former England national soccer team captain will then carry the torch back to the UK on a flight Friday, along with Princess Anne and other officials, before it sets out on a 70-day Olympic Torch Relay, according to the Olympics website

Beckham played a key role in the 2005 delegation that helped bring the Summer Games to London.

A total of 8,000 people will carry the torch the relay that will begin in Cornwall, southern England, and reach the Shetland Islands, off Scotland's north coast.

Together with our Presenting Partners Coca Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, London 2012 has found 8,000 truly inspirational people from across the UK to carry the Olympic Flame - a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, the London Olympics 2012 said in a statement.

The lighting of the Olympic flame, which takes place at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, is a ritual that is followed at every Games and is celebrated with a traditional ceremony among the ruins of the homes of the Ancient Games.

After a short relay around Greece, the Flame is handed over to the new Host City at another ceremony in the Panathenaiko stadium in Athens.

The Flame is then delivered to the Host Country, where it is transferred from one Torchbearer to another, spreading the message of peace, unity and friendship.

The flames journey ends as the last Torchbearer lights the Cauldron at the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, marking the official start of the games.

The Flame then stays lit until it is put out at the Closing Ceremony, signifying the end of the Games.

The Olympic Torch Relay officially begins on May 19 and ends on the first day of the Summer Games, July 27.