So much for the unsung heroes! Firms sponsoring Olympics hand torch relay spots to their own marketing staff and IT workers

Louise Eccles

16:36 EST, 5 June 2012


18:22 EST, 5 June 2012

The Olympic torchbearers were supposed to be 8,000 unsung heroes with heartening stories to ‘inspire a generation’.

But yesterday it emerged that some of the coveted places have been handed out by sponsors to their own staff.

Coca-Cola, Samsung and Adidas have distributed the positions to everyone from marketing executives to IT workers.



Star show: TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher carrying the flame but questions have been raised about the suitability of other TV personalities such as and also office staff from sponsors’ firms holding flame

The remaining 800 places were given to stakeholders, such as the International Olympic Committee, as well as to top sponsors to distribute internally.

These were then doled out to employees, most of whom appear to have been nominated for simply doing their job and several of whom have no connection to Britain.

London 2012 guidelines state that even internal candidates should be ’young people or have stories inspiring young people’ with ‘back stories of personal achievement’.

But instead of torchbearer places going to deserving customers or staff of the sponsors, in many instances they have been bestowed on top executives.

Last night, Baroness Dee Doocey, Olympics spokesman for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, said: ‘I think this is completely wrong and absolutely against the spirit of the Olympics. The sponsors are rewarding staff for just doing the job they are paid to do.



Carrying the torch: Chelsea star Didier Drogba and Dr Who actor David Tennant with the flame

‘This was supposed to be “the people’s Games”, not the Games for people who have money and power.’

Lakshmi Mittal, 61, chief executive of ArcelorMittal, will run with the flame after his firm provided £19.2million towards the cost of building The Orbit, a giant steel sculpture in the Olympic Park. His son Aditya, the company’s financial officer, will also be a torchbearer,.

Comparing himself to an elite athlete, Mr Mittal [senior] said of his nomination: ‘When I think about parallels between myself and an Olympian, I believe that success in the world of business is underpinned by very similar principles of perseverance and hard work.’

Jack Denness, 77, had his torchbearer application rejected despite raising £100,000 by completing 12 155-mile runs through Death Valley, California. The grandfather, from Kent, said: ‘It makes a bit of a farce of the system, doesn’t it?’

Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the London Assembly, said: ‘This is another example of the corrupting influence of the sponsors and how the Games have become more grace-and-favour than inclusive.’


A London 2012 spokesman said: ‘Staging the Olympics is a huge undertaking and we wouldn’t do it without the support from our commercial partners.

The right packages for some partners include a small number of torchbearer places that had to be filled through internal campaigns.’

A spokesman for Adidas said: ‘Inspiration and personal best are both subjective. However, we are satisfied that our torch runners meet this criteria.’  

Samsung said: ‘Just like the torchbearers selected through public nomination, these individuals have gone the  extra mile.’

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Why am I not surprised

Goodness me, David Tennant has changed!

The sponsors aren’t putting their money into the games for nothing, the only reason is to make billions of pounds (in other words greed). They have even hijacked inside the games area so that only their food and drink is sold and then they have increased the price even more. I don’t know how anyone from any of these big companies can say they have complied with the rules to carry a torch. Whoever let this happen (I assume the Olympic committee which includes Lord Coe who is himself making a fortune out of these games) should be ashamed, but it does seem that what we are told by our politicians about every aspect of the games is turning out to be lies. They have just sold us out to the highest bidder. I feel sorry and angry for the people of London who have to pay higher council taxes for these games as well as having their lives disrupted for weeks to make way for the very rich. It just shows how enormous the gap between the rich and poor is these days.

Come on Britain, get it together! After an absolutely amazing celebration of your monarch showing the entire world how great Britain really is, you let yourselves down by accepting this pure hypocrisy! Rise up – be great, everywhere!

When will these”GAMES” be over? Then we can count the costs! Billions of pounds, minus the Few millions that the sponsors put in? They will make their money over, and over through sales and advertising! And then all the infrastructure will be sold off at a cut price, and we will end up paying for the shortfall! As for the Railways, and Underground, they could not cope this weekend, so what are they going to do, when the Games are on? I wonder if we will ever get an audit of the costs and expenditure of this farce?

Greed, greed and more greed. Our politicians are selling out to the highest bidder. They see nothing wrong with it. No surprise that business is joining in.

remember the good old days when everyone was an amature?

Seems alike our own footballers, we do not honour our other sportsmen and women any longer.
I am disgusted that money can buy parasitic favour above personal commitment!.

Oh dear! David Tennant has regenerated again when you weren’t looking!

I wouldn’t have imagined anything like that after seeing Didier Drogba and Will.I.Am carry the torch…

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