One council appeared to save hundreds of thousands of pounds on the Olympic Torch Relay by getting Olympic organisers LOCOG to pay their costs – but for six months they have denied having any records of how that happened. Carol Miers reports on the curious case of Somerset County Council.
The responsibility to enforce the current marketing restrictions and protect the rights of Games Sponsors within the UK, transfers from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to the British Olympic Association (BOA) and British Paralympic Association, in January 2013.
The BOA is continuing to work with the International Olympic Committee to develop a framework that allows suppliers to promote the work they undertook, balanced with the ability for sponsors to protect their rights of association with the Games. I will continue to monitor this to ensure British businesses can benefit as much as possible from their involvement in the Games.
Wheelchair athlete Jack Binstead is now aiming for the 2016 Paralympics after the disappointment of missing out on being a torch bearer in his home town of Kingston-on-Thames.
Jack got through to the final stage but the story of how the fifteen year old Kingston kid known as Wheelz to his 3,000 Twitter followers, was overlooked by LOCOG, is heartbreaking.
“I have raced the London mini-marathon five or six times and I have won about three times. Obviously I wanted to be selected and I understand, but I was told that the people who are carring it aren’t actually from the Borough and that is one thing that isn’t good,” Jack said. Continue reading →
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 →
Olympic torch relay organisers are over 1,000 places short of meeting the promise that over half of Olympic torchbearers would be young people aged 12-24, according to an analysis of data in the official site.
Of just over 7,000 torchbearers published on the site by July 24, only 2,272 – 32% – are under 25. The proportion has remained consistent since details were first published in late May, but even if the other 1,000 torchbearers were under 25, the final proportion would be 40% – still well short of the target set at the relay’s launch.
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. Continue reading →
This is the first part of a serialisation of Help Me Investigate’s first ebook – 8,000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way. 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 1: Where did the torchbearer places go?
Jack Binstead is one of the UK’s most promising young athletes: a wheelchair racer in with a chance of competing in the next Paralympic Games. Born with brittle bone disease he has, says his mother Penny, broken 64 bones in his body over just 15 years.
“At the age of nine he was a very down young boy,” she explains. “He was very overweight – he didn’t know which way to go. But when he went to a taster session for children with special needs, the borough’s Head of Sports saw in Jack that he would be good at wheelchair racing. He recommended that Jack try wheelchair racing at a local track in Kingston called Kingsmeadow.”