Pele might be “the King”, but he won’t mark the Rio Olympics like “The Greatest” did 20 years ago in Atlanta.
The Brazilian soccer legend announced Friday that he won’t participate in opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro due to poor health, according to The BBC. Rumors indicated Pele was the favorite to light the Olympic Pele, just as Muhammad Ali did at the 1996 Games, but he won’t do the honor in Latin America’s first Olympic Games.
“I’m not in physical condition to take part in the opening ceremony,” Pele said in a statement, per The BBC. “Only God is more important than my health. In my life, I’ve had fractures, surgeries, pain, hospital stays, victories and defeats. And I’ve always respected those who admire me.”
Pele, 75, had surgery to remove kidney stones in November 2014 and underwent prostrate surgery in May. He also underwent hip surgery this year and recently complained about muscle pains.
Brazil’s soccer King will sit out this opening ceremony, but hopefully he’ll feel well enough by the end of the month to perform other ceremonial duties at the Rio Olympics.
For now, we’re left to wonder “Who will light the torch?”
The opening ceremony takes place Friday night in Rio.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images