In the final part of the serialisation of Help Me Investigate’s first ebook – 8,000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way we look at how the story affected one inspirational individual who did carry the torch – and the executives who carried the torch on the day the torch passed through Jack Binstead’s borough. 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 5: 8,000 Holes
In June 2011, when the design for the official Olympic torch was unveiled, the Chair of LOCOG Sebastian Coe had said:
“The Torch that carries the Olympic Flame during the Olympic Torch Relay is one of the most recognisable and significant symbols of an Olympic Games. Members of the public right across the UK are busy nominating inspiring people to be Torchbearers and I am thrilled we have a beautifully designed, engineered and crafted Torch for them to carry.
“Integral to the design are the 8,000 circles, a lasting representation of the Torchbearer stories of personal achievement or contribution to their local community that will be showcased with every step of the Relay.”
But too many of those 8,000 circles turned out to be merely holes where local heroes should have been. The “message of inclusion” which the torch was supposed to represent had been replaced with a repeated message of exclusion. At almost every point where places were split up, a proportion was siphoned for allocation through non-public processes, whether the 15% of Lloyds TSB places for staff; the 10% of Samsung’s places; Coca Cola’s nomination judges carrying the torch as Future Flames, or the corporate partners who rewarded board members and business partners. Continue reading →
“On the day that Jack’s family flies out, the Olympic torch will be carried by Chai Patel – a former Labour Party donor and now one of the largest donors to the British Olympic Association. Sujith Weerasinghe, Olympics Operations Manager for BP, will carry the torch too, having written his own nomination story. The CEO of the BFI and Samsung’s UK Vice President were listed to carry that day, but as they have since disappeared from the site it’s not clear if they will. Joe Hemani has also disappeared from the site: he was due to carry the torch with the simple nomination story “Joe Hemani is the founder and single shareholder of Westcoast Ltd which was established in 1984.” Westcoast is a technology distribution company. The vice president of Visa Europe runs with a story written by herself, as does the assistant manager of Carphone Warehouse Leeds – it says “Using video technology, I took it upon myself to enhance and personalise the service customers get at Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy Europe.” The head of the company designing the Coca Cola pavilion carries a torch on that day, and while chefs who graduated from Jamie Oliver’s inspirational apprentice programme Fifteen are running – so is the Marketing and Commercial Manager for Jamie Oliver Ltd. And running without any story at all is Paul Eccleston, managing director at techhnology distributor SDG.”