Soccer legend and hometown hero Pele will not attend the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics, despite being asked to light the Olympic cauldron.
The Associated Press broke the news Friday, a few hours before the games’ official start was to get underway.
Earlier this week, Retuers reported that Pele had been approached about lighting the ceremonial fire — a huge honor — but that he hadn’t immediately accepted because the American company that holds the rights to his name had to OK the action.
“As a Brazilian, I’d love to do it,” the 75-year-old athlete told Brazil’s Globo TV at the time, though in a statement obtained by Mediaite, he said he wasn’t “physically able to attend the opening of the Olympics.”
Pele is the only soccer player with three World Cup wins to his name: 1958, 1962 and 1970.
The summer games’ opening ceremonies will be broadcast Friday on NBC at 7:30/6:30c.