The London 2012 Olympic Games are approaching fast and so is the excitement associated with it. The London 2012 torch relay has already started and entered its third day today. It is a 70 day process that will climax at the opening ceremony on July 27.
However, a controversy is brewing online as some of the Olympic Torch Bearers decide to cash in on their once in a lifetime privilege by selling their torches on eBay to the highest bidder. Even before the first day of the relay was completed the torches appeared on the auction site.
The move angered the people at large and when the bids zoomed to £150,000 people believed it to be a false offer and an expression of anger against the sale.
The Olympic committee had got the torches made at the cost of £495 each but was given to the bearers for £295 only. An official admitted that it belongs to them and they are free to do with it what they want after the relay. Sarah Milner Simonds, from Burnham-on-Sea, one of the lucky torch bearers was on BBC Breakfast and said that it occurred to her to put up the torch for auction on Saturday night and when the sale closed last night the final bid was a whopping £153,000.
She added that she had received the honor as a community gardener for the People’s Plot and was raising the money for her project. She was taken aback when people who objected to her decision to sell the torch started sending her abusive emails. She understands the anger of the people but still believes that the money raised through the auction can do a lot of good for a lot of people. She only hoped that the bid was genuine.
The first torch that was auctioned on eBay was sold for £3,000 and suddenly the other torch bearers realized that it is a good way for raising funds for a cause. Ms Milner who carried the flame through the village of Dunster is not the only one to think this way.
Every one of them have a similar story with minor variations. Andrew Bell, 32, of Probus, Cornwall was more frank and said that the meter long torch looked weird on the mantelpiece and they could use the extra money as his wife had just gone back to work and they had a baby too. Some of the others have talked about donating the proceeds to a charity. Some sellers have also auctioned off the uniform they wore while carrying the flame.
Over a seventy day period almost 8,000 torch bearers will carry the Olympic Flame to the opening ceremony. Some of Britain’s top sport stars will run along with the torch bearers. There is lot of excitement amongst the people on the street. The first two days of the relay witnessed packed streets at Cornwall and Devon to catch a glimpse of the torch. The organizers are hoping that the excitement grows as the games come nearer. The 70 day relay is an elaborate exercise for the organizers as a crew of about 350 is working each day so that the relay goes on smoothly.