David Beckham in torch handoff

LONDON -- Organizers of the 2012 London Olympics say soccer star David Beckham is bringing the Olympic flame from Greece as the torch begins an 8,000-mile tour across Britain.

Beckham, now with the Los Angeles Galaxy, will join officials at a handover ceremony Thursday in Athens.

Organizers said Wednesday that the former England national soccer team captain then will carry the torch back to the United Kingdom on a flight Friday, along with Princess Anne and other British officials.

Beckham was part of the delegation that helped London secure the 2012 Summer Games ahead of a 2005 vote.

A total of 8,000 people will carry the torch during a 70-day relay that will begin in Cornwall, southern England, and reach the Shetland Islands, off Scotland's north coast.