Rio Olympics 2016 opening ceremony: Pele will not light Olympic Cauldron as ill health prevents football icon from attending
Pele will not light the Olympic Cauldron when the 2016 Rio Games get underway on Friday night after a spokesman confirmed he cannot attend the opening ceremony due to poor health.
The Brazilian football legend was widely expected to light the flame during the ceremony at the Maracana Stadium, which will host the Olympics athletics events, although the identity of who would be given the honour was being kept under wraps.
However, a spokesman for 75-year-old Pele confirmed just a few hours before the opening ceremony that the former footballer will not attend the ceremony and had declined the offer to light the flame due to his ill health, having recently undergone hip surgery.
Pele was invited to light the Cauldron on Wednesday by the opening ceremony organisers, although there were fears that his health could prevent him from returning to the Maracana. Pele currently needs a walking stick when he leaves his home due to his recent operation.
Independent News Service