Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

Notebook: Beckham back from Olympic role, ready for Madrid

CARSON, Calif. — If David Beckham's nearly constant patter about how proud he is to have the Olympics in his backyard, and to have played a role in bringing them there, you could see it all over his face as he piloted the speedboat delivering the flame down the River Thames during last week's opening ceremony.

He's back in Southern California now, ready to take on his former club in the LA Galaxy's Herbalife World Football Challenge match on Thursday at The Home Depot Center against Real Madrid (10:30 pm ET/ 7:30 pm PT, ESPN2,, 1330 AM, LIVE CHAT), but the London Games are never far from his thoughts.

PREVIEW: Donovan, Beckham, Keane on Real Madrid

The Englishman's role in film director Danny Boyle's spectacular start to the Olympics pleased him no end.

“It's amazing,” said Beckham, who looked dapper and dashing as he took the boat, carrying 16-year-old Arsenal Ladies standout Jade Bailey with the flame, under Tower Bridge and to the Olympic Stadium. “Obviously, being an East End boy and growing up there, having the Olympics in that part of London is a very proud moment for us all. It was a great experience. Being part of it, being part of such a historic moment for England, it was special.”

Beckham, who said he had a few days on the river to learn the intricacies of speedboat driving, managed to get to one Olympic event: Great Britain's 3-1 soccer victory Sunday over the United Arab Emirates at Wembley Stadium.

“I didn't really have a chance for anything else,” said Beckham, who reported that he will return to London for the Aug. 12 closing ceremony, which will keep him out of the SuperClasico that evening against Chivas USA. “I'll hopefully go to few events then.”

Dunivant close

Left back Todd Dunivant, sidelined by a calf hematoma, has returned to training. He's not yet involved in full team activities but is running and doing fitness and agility work. He expects to be available for selection soon, likely in time for the SuperClasico.

“It's progressing really quickly,” said Dunivant, who was hurt two weeks ago in Vancouver. “It's a matter of getting a little bit of fitness back, but I've only been out 10 or 11 days. Granted, I was off my feet pretty much the whole time, but it's doing a lot better.”

He was injured in the fourth minute of the 2-2 draw with the Whitecaps, when Dane Richards, pushing the ball past Dunivant and trying to run by, “got me in the back of the leg.” Dunivant played on for 25 minutes.

“It was killing me,” he said. “I was thinking I could maybe get through it, I tried, and it wasn't happening.”

The 2011 MLS Best XI selection has been the Galaxy's steadiest presence, playing all but three games and eight minutes the past two seasons — before the injury.

“You do have to have a bit of luck when it comes down to playing a lot of games, and I've had that,” he said. “I'll try to use this as an opportunity to get refreshed and take a deep breath, but it's only been [two weeks]. In the grand scheme, I should be back pretty quick.”