Is Selling the Olympic Torch Right?

A few days have passed since Cornwall celebrated the arrival of the Olympic Torch in style. This has set a high standard which other parts of the country would be hard-pressed to beat. However, it should not be too much of a surprise if a few of these Olympic Torches find their way onto well-known auction sites.

My first thought on hearing this news was of disgust, as how could someone sell something so quickly after having the honour of being selected to carry one. However, there could be reasons why they are being sold like a family is struggling financially, and the sale of this torch would help this family. You cannot really fault someone if they are putting their family first, as at the end of the day your family does come first. Could we all honestly say we would not think about selling if someone offered you a couple hundred thousand for it?

From my understanding, there were two ways you could be selected to carry one of the torches. One is you were nominated by a member of the public for the good work you have done for the community, and the other is being selected by one of the corporate sponsors.

LOCOG, the organisers put a cost on each torch at just under £500. The corporate carriers had their torches paid for fully. Whereas the ‘community nominations’ had to pay around £200 to be able to keep one of these torches. I think this is a mistake, as no one should have had to pay for them because this might have placed a financial burden on a family. I mean who wouldn’t buy a torch if you were selected to run with one?

If you were nominated by the community for all the work you have done in that area and decided to sell the torch, then surely the money (minus the initial cost) could, or should go to that community. If the figures are to be believed that torches are selling for over £100,000, then this money could really make a difference. Again, it would be hard to say this is wrong because there is a greater benefit to the community if a torch was sold.

The more you think about it, the more complex the issue is. You can now understand why LOCOG has taken a neutral stance on the selling of these torches. If they said you cannot, but are themselves making people pay for them, then it makes LOCOG look rather silly.

If someone feels they are financially disadvantaged by having to initially buy one of these torches I could use some of my community fund to pay for the initial cost of the torch, and I will then donate the torch to Helston Museum for everyone to see a part of history.

I guess the final decision on selling it and the consequences for that action lays with the owner of the torch


  • Carole Munday on Facebook

    I don’t understand the fuss. If something is yours then you can sell it as with anything else. These people have been selected to run with the torch because they’re good people, so good on ’em if they can make some money out of it.

  • Personally I wouldn’t sell it, at least not immediately. However, I could see me selling it in a x years time to fund my old age! I would’nt criticise those doing it, as you have no idea of personal circumstances. I do wonder whether the £150,000 bids are genuine. An auctioneer on TV this morning seemed to doubt it. I also heard they have to pay £22k capital gains tax.

  • I did hear the young lady who sold her torch for £150k on the radio earlier – her brother committee suicide a few years ago and the proceeds are going to a charity that helps kids with mental health problems. Now THAT I agree with!

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