UK

London 2012 organisers put Olympic torches up for sale

Torches for sale on the London 2012 website
Image caption Bidding on the torches starts at £1

London 2012 organisers are selling torches which have been used in the relay on an auction website.

Twenty torches are currently on sale , all of which were carried by torchbearers who decided not to buy them after completing their stint.

Each of the 8,000 runners is entitled to buy his or her own torch for £215 but some have chosen not to

It is those which are now being sold. Organisers said any money raised would go back into staging the Olympics.

In the first week of the 8,000-mile torch relay in May, several torches went on sale on the online auction website eBay, sparking criticism from some quarters.

One woman who put her torch on sale to raise funds for charity was disappointed when the winning bid of £153,000 turned out to be a hoax .

London 2012 organisers Locog are selling the unwanted torches on their own auction website with listings starting at £1 and lasting between 7-14 days.

Games-time mementoes

Each torch is packaged in a collectors box and comes with a certificate of authenticity, ID number and details of which part of the relay it was carried on.

Several limited-edition torches, signed by athletes and celebrities, are also being put up for sale.

The funds raised from the sale of torches will be put back into London 2012's coffers.

The BBC's Olympics correspondent James Pearce said: "London 2012 staff are well aware that this will not go down well with some people. It's a reflection on the tightness of the organisation's finances that they need to look at raising revenue in any way possible.

"Locog is privately financed. While the government funded Olympic construction project has come in under its revised budget, Locog is struggling to break even."

Locog commercial director Chris Townsend said: "The London 2012 auction not only offers fans the chance to own a piece of history but helps subsidise the cost of torches for torchbearers."

During Games-time, mementoes from the action, including a baton from the men's 4x100 relay and a volleyball from the beach volleyball event at Horse Guards Parade, will also go on sale on the website.

Souvenir cost

Torchbearers were told in March they would have to pay £199, rising to £215 after 1 May, if they wanted to keep the torch as a souvenir of their special day.

Locog defended the cost at the time, saying a torch cost £495 to make and it was subsidising the price.

The flame is being carried a total of 8,000 miles on its 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 27 July.

It is being borne by members of the public, young and old, and Olympians and other VIPs will also carry the torch.

Each of the torchbearers will run with the flame for about 300m before lighting the next bearer's torch in a "kiss".

Officers from the Torch Security Team, co-ordinated by the Metropolitan Police, are accompanying the runners throughout the relay.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites