Muscle pains could keep Pele from lighting Rio cauldron

Thu Aug 4, 2016 11:07pm EDT
 
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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Pele's doctors have given him the go ahead to light the Olympic cauldron on Friday, but muscle pains may bar the Brazilian soccer great from the torch ceremony that opens the Rio de Janeiro Games.

The 75-year-old triple World Cup winner had hip surgery in December and needs a walking stick to get around.

"It all depends on the muscle pains that hinder his mobility," a spokesperson for Pele told Reuters.

Pele, whose given name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time.

Organizers of the Games invited him to light the Olympic flame in Rio's Maracana stadium, a role usually played by a high-profile athlete from the host country.

He got permission from the American company that owns the rights to his brand name, but his difficulty in moving could rule him out.

Pele had a new hip fitted in 2012 and has had several other health issues since. He spent two weeks in hospital for a urinary infection in 2014 and had prostate surgery last year.

(Reporting by Tatiana Ramil; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

 
Brazilian soccer legend Pele poses for picture after receiving an Olympic necklace from President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach at the Pele Museum in Santos, Brazil June 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker