‘2012 Olympics are far too commercial’

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EDITOR - Like many others I am disappointed with the inevitable “commercialism” of the Olympics, and the diversion from its true roots, but the way the “Olympic torch” relay has been managed, truly “beggars belief” including the bizarre allocation of torch bearers to sites, already well publicised.

I originally warned that torches would end up on such as “E bay” and perhaps that says a lot of some of the selected carriers, although it now seems that a few people may be seeking money for charities.

Carrying the torch is supposed to be “all about the honour” perceived or real, whereas 8000 torches will have cost some £4 million.

My original idea was that runners should be given a personal commemorative medal, with its insignificant cost, when compared to the torches. Souvenir medals are being advertised widely at less than £2.00. One torch in each community could be passed from runner to runner, (possibly a few more in large towns) and then donated to the community if they wished to place it on public display as part of our heritage.

In our very small village there will be three torches carried, at a cost of c£1500.00, and one of our local company’s offered to manufacture, free of charge, a really nice commemorative cabinet to place a torch on display in the foyer of our village hall.

I also speculatively queried if there was a spare one for our schoolchildren to carry in their commemorative relay prior to the main event.

After getting the “run around” (pun intended) from the official departments, no response to a subsequent email to Seb Coe, via his official contact point, and also the House of Lords, we were finally advised we could not have one until after the event.

At this point, when the number of runners who have retained theirs has been ascertained, the remainder will be placed on sale to the public at the full price, as opposed to £215 paid by the runners.

I was advised there would be no priority given to councils/communities who wished to display them for the benefit of the public. I lost my temper at this news, and emailed informing them where they could put their torch, howbeit in an unadvisable medical position!

Be assured the three runners in Hogsthorpe will get a very warm welcome here - none of it is their fault, as they are pawns in the game.

We will be having our children’s run, a medal from the 1924 Olympics won by a former resident now buried in our churchyard, with other memorabilia will be on display in our Church, refreshments will be available, etc...

We will celebrate as a community in the spirit of the Games and leave the commercial bodies, and inevitable free loaders etc to their consciences.

Incidentally there is surely only one person who should light the Olympic flame – Claire Lomas - who took weeks to run the London marathon in a “rewalk suit.”

Claire epitomises everything the Olympics should be about and don’t let me read of logistics stopping it – they can easily sort those out.

R. ENDERBY

Hogsthrope