The Olympic flame began its journey from Lands End to Stratford on Saturday 19th May and already the carriers have run in to controversy.There seems to be a backlash on Facebook regarding people se
The Olympic flame began its journey from Lands End to Stratford on Saturday 19th May and already the carriers have run in to controversy.There seems to be a backlash on Facebook regarding people selling their Olympic torches on eBay this weekend, hours after the first few had completed their part in the 8,000 mile journey.
The torchbearers were chosen to carry the Olympic flame around the UK because they were inspirational or had done something outstanding for their community. Many of the complaints seem to have been from people who had not been chosen to take part in the relay and felt that the honour of taking part was being diminished by making a quick profit from the torches.
One such torch to sell belonged to Sarah Milner Simonds and went for an incredible £153,100. She has stated that the money will be used to put something back into the community and will go towards a community gardening project, The People’s Plot. Another has vowed to give any money he makes to Mencap. Other torchbearers have said they have no intention of selling their torch but instead will take it around local schools to show the children and let them feel a part of the Olympic spirit. Some people argue that the Olympics should be above all this – although it feels rather like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted; have you seen how much Olympic paraphernalia is on sale- and that is just the official merchandise? It is hardly surprising that people are prepared to make money on something that plays a vital role in ensuring the flame reaches the Olympic Park, when so many are prepared to part with their cash for a 2012 pin badge.
The torch bearers had the option to purchase their torch from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) at £215 –at a discount price, considering they cost £495 to make. However, having bought it one might argue why does anyone else have a say with what they do with it afterwards? It is rather like saying your neighbour can’t sell that garish plate she inherited last week from her Aunt.
According to Sky News a spokesperson for LOCOG said, ‘It is up to torchbearers what they do with their torches, and we hope the torches on eBay go to a good home.’ I’m sure LOCOG would rather people had kept them to show the grandchildren in years to come but if charities benefit and community projects become a legacy of the torchbearers ‘profits’ I don’t think they can argue with that.
Some people may also ask the question, ‘Why purchase a part of something that you yourself didn’t take part in?’ One answer may well be to re sell it on eBay. Now that I think would be sad – and perhaps rather foolish; after all there are 8,000 of these and I’m sure once eBay becomes flooded with torches, the desire to purchase will soon be extinguished.