Fans will be disappointed that the legend and hero from Brazil, Pelé, will not be lighting the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Friday. According to the Associated Press, in a statement made by the 75-year-old soccer giant on Friday, Pelé said, "I am not physically able to attend the opening of the Olympics." The beloved Brazilian sportsman underwent hip surgery a few months ago and would not be physically capable of lighting the torch, as he walks with a cane and requires assistance. Pelé went on, "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." But now that we know he won't be lighting the torch, will Pelé be attending the Olympics at all?
The soccer star did not want to let his fans down, of course, when he released the statement about his inability to attend. He also said, "As a Brazilian, I ask God to bless all who participate in this event." It's unclear at this point whether Pelé will attend any of the events at the games this summer, or if he will only be absent from the opening ceremony, as the AP reported.
Pelé did, however, make a surprise appearance to the delight of the world at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. During the closing ceremony, the "handover" passed from London to Rio, the next host of the games, in a stunning, 8-minute performance showcasing Brazilian culture. Pelé joined the stage in a hat and coat to reveal himself as the legend himself, a true hero and representation of the greatness of the games. Whether or not he will attend any events this summer is still a mystery, but hopefully, Pelé will make an appearance.