First came the ecstasy, now the financial agony. Olympic torchbearers chosen to carry one of the torches along the route to this year’s Games have been told they will have to pay to keep it.
Those picked to ferry the flame in a relay the length of the country will have to stump up the not inconsiderable price of £199 to take home their memento. If they wait until after 1 May, it will be £215.
The torch, which was designed by Brockley’s Jay Osgerby and his business partner Edward Barber in their Shoreditch studio, has been compared by some wags to a great, golden spliff.
Olympic organiser Locog has defended the high price – saying that the torches cost £495 to make.
The relay’s route through London and the rest of the country was revealed last week. The 8,000 people who will carry the flame from Land’s End to London between 19 May and 27 July were selected by Locog and Games ‘partners’ (read ‘sponsors’) Coca Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.
Coca Cola told the BBC that it would foot the bill for those it had nominated. Locog suggested those unable to bank on such a generous offer could organise a local ‘cake sale’ to meet the cost. Reaction is mixed on the comments section to the BBC story. Some say it's wrong to charge, some that it isn’t, while others wonder whether it would have cost as much had the torches been made in China…
Meanwhile, those wishing to buy their own piece of Olympic history might be tempted to look elsewhere. We found these tasty little numbers going for cheap as chips on eBay.
By Paul Dietrich