Company bosses were chosen to carry the Olympic torch, admits adidas

Adidas have admitted that the general manager of sports clothing retailer Intersport and the Group Product Director for Next are among a number of people carrying the torch on behalf of the company for working “in the business of sport for a number of years”.

Following the publication of HMI Olympics’ investigation into Olympic torchbearers, Steve Marks, senior PR manager for adidas, also confirmed that other torchbearers included the company’s Warehouse Systems Manager and Category Manager.

Help Me Investigate had already identified an adidas store manager and member of the IT team among the torchbearers, as well as:

Ian, who has “made a fantastic contribution to the adidas group business”; Judy, who ”breathes adidas … Her positive attitude and ‘money in [t]he till’ approach is legendary”; Mark, who “has been a massive influence on store sales driving the team forward at every opportunity”; and Antoine, who has “contributed to the adidas brand by setting up the Belgian adiDirect service in 2004 and achieving my sales targets in every market I have worked in.”

Marks explained:

“[W]e have looked across the adidas business including our partners and set out criteria of who would be considered for a place. This falls in line with the LOCOG guidelines of youth, inspiration or Personal Best. adidas staff were able to nominate who should be considered and build a case for their inclusion. Inspiration and Personal Best are both subjective, however adidas is satisfied that our torch runners meet this criteria.”

Marks was unable to confirm whether the names listed represented all the torchbearers allocated to adidas, which has a workforce of over 46,000 employees (PDF p104), nor provide further details on internal nomination processes or judges. We are awaiting a reply regarding why seven torchbearers used the same nomination story.

His response in full is copied below:

“The torch bearers that you have listed are correctly identified.

“The reason I wanted to talk to you on this was to explain the way we have worked with our places.

“As we are not an official torch sponsor, we are not able to give these away to public or run promotions/competition – this is not within our rights. However, we would have done this if this was possible.

Therefore, we have looked across the adidas business including our partners and set out criteria of who would be considered for a place. This falls in line with the LOCOG guidelines of youth, inspiration or Personal Best. adidas staff were able to nominate who should be considered and build a case for their inclusion. Inspiration and Personal Best are both subjective, however adidas is satisfied that our torch runners meet this criteria.

“We also ran a competition for any employee who had a child that would fit in the age category set out by LOCOG. However, the average age of the adidas employee is young and therefore the majority of children of employees are too young to run with the torch.”

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3 thoughts on “Company bosses were chosen to carry the Olympic torch, admits adidas

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