Powerseller College, which is the most respected eBay learning forum online, reports that a torchbearer from the 1948 London Games is upset at individuals who are selling torches before the 2012 Olympic games for a profit, calling it “disgraceful”.
Charles Derek Williams is a former Wales rugby player who was once the Cardiff RFC captain. Williams was a middle distance runner who barely missed competing at the 1948 games. He has always treasured the torch he carried out during the 1948 London games, and is upset other torchbearers who are selling their torches.
One of those torchbearers that Derek is angry at is Sarah Milner Simonds from Burnham-on-Sea who has received a bid of more than £150,000 on eBay for her torch.
A few of the torchbearers are claiming that they will donate some or even all of their earnings from eBay to charity. Mr. Williams is infuriated not at those donating their sales to charity for a good cause; instead his anger is targeted at people looking to make money for themselves.
The former rugby great, earned 2 Welsh caps in the 1950s said, “It’s disgraceful. It demeans the whole thing.” If they want it for themselves that’s not right. I think that’s nothing but sheer selfishness and narrow-mindedness. If they’re going to give it to charity that’s a different matter.”
Nowadays, torchbearers have to pay £200 for their torches, which have led to the commercialization of the relay. Today, trucks, which are ahead of the runners, are even sponsored by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.
Williams has had his torch for 64 years and has never considered selling it. He says that it has too much sentimental value to him. Williams seems saddened about how much the torch relay has changed. “Now, of course, it’s all about money. The present torch relay is all about money and advertising.”
A representative for LOCOG when asked about torches being sold on eBay said the torches belong to the torchbearers and they can do whatever they want with them.
Each torch costs about £495 just to produce, so torchbearers are receiving their torches at a special price. Torches have been sold at 6 of the last 7 Olympic games, the lone exception being Beijing. Out of the last 7 games the ones produced for the London games were the cheapest.