In the third part of a serialisation of Help Me Investigate’s first ebook – 8,000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way we look at the claim that 90% of torchbearer places would be available to the general public. You can download the book for free – or choose to pay a donation, with all proceeds going to the Brittle Bone Society – at Leanpub.com/8000holes
Part 3: A very specific “general” public
Although news reports at the time said that 90% of all torch relay places would be “available to the general public”, a careful reading of LOCOG’s language and figures suggests that this was not entirely accurate. The chief executive of LOCOG was careful to say that places “were made available to the public through a number of channels, including the four public nomination campaigns run by Locog, Coke, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.”
With fewer than three quarters of places available through those four public nomination campaigns, the remainder would be allocated through other channels which restricted their availability to the ‘general’ public to varying degrees.
A small number of places were available if you met particular conditions. For example, if you lived under one of the 66 local authorities hosting evening events or “an Island visit requiring extra logistics”, you could nominate someone for one of a further 135 places – but this left over 100 local authorities without places.
There were 212 places for children who would be 12 at the time of the relay and went to schools in the Get Set Network. 83% of schools in London are a member of the network but in Wales only 43% of schools are members, and in Northern Ireland just 31%. A further 30 places – later 20 – were allocated to people taking part in the International Inspiration programme.
70 places were also divided between Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, sportscotland and Sport Wales. But these bodies were explicitly told that they were not able to advertise places to the general public. So instead, they used internal channels, such as Sport Northern Ireland’s Activ8 programme.
Even once those places were added to the total, more than 21% of the 8,000 places remained. But when questioned about this, LOCOG insisted that they were “wholly confident” that 90% of torchbearer places did go to the general public.
|LOCOG||Moment to Shine||2012|
|Coca Cola||Public?||1310||Spokesperson||“Over 90% of our allocation going to members of the public through our Future Flames campaign.” Some Future Flames places went to judges on the five regional panels – these included representatives from sport, music and Coca Cola. 3 Live Positively places were directly invited. 37 places remain unknown|
|Samsung||Public||1224||Samsung spokesperson||“Approximately 90% of Samsung’s Torchbearers were carefully selected from the public through our global Torchbearer recruitment campaign”|
|Lloyds TSB||Public||1156||Lloyds TSB spokesperson||“85% [of the 1360 places] were made available to the public and 15% were awarded to Lloyds Banking Group’s employees who were nominated by other Bank employees”|
|LOCOG||66 local authorities hosting evening events, and 6 islands||135||http://www.london2012.com/media-centre/article=london-2012-offers-first-torchbearer-places-for-the-olym-1248340.html||“66 Local Authorities hosting an evening celebration event or an Island visit requiring extra logistics on the Olympic Torch Relay”|
|LOCOG||Sport England, Wales, Scotland and NI||70||http://www.london2012.com/media-centre/article=london-2012-offers-first-torchbearer-places-for-the-olym-1248340.html||“people who assist with delivering grassroots sport in the UK”|
|LOCOG||Get Set Network||212||http://getset.london2012.com/en/the-games/about-london-2012/the-london-2012-torch-relays/get-set-to-welcome-the-olympic-flame-primary/get-set-to-welcome-the-olympic-flame-secondary/get-set-to-support-a-torchbearer||“young people from across the UK who will be 12 at the time of the Torch Relay through Get Set Networked schools that are part of the London 2012 education programme”|
|As % of 8000||76.7%|
Part 4 – on what happened to the remaining 21% of places – is published later today.