David Beckham in London on Saturday. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press)

The chances that David Beckham will light the Olympic flame at the 2012 Summer games just got a lot better, according to London bookmakers. Why? Think of it as a consolation prize for the international soccer star, who learned Thursday he didn’t make Britain’s Olympic team.

Beckham lobbied hard for the London games and kicked off the U.K. torch relay. But the 37-year-old was — to the surprise of many fans — not selected by coach Stuart Pearce for one of three spots reserved for players over 23 on the 18-man roster, reports our colleague Cindy Boren. “Naturally I am very disappointed,” Beckham said in a statement. “But there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me.”

How to make it up to him? Beckham’s odds of lighting the flame are now 5-1, but he’s still not the favorite: Rower Steve Redgrave and Roger Bannister, the first four-minute miler, are leading the betting.

Read also at Early Lead: David Beckham “disappointed” at failure to make Olympic team, 6/28/12

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