The London 2012 Olympics has come under scrutiny after it emerged that many of the Olympic torch bearers, carrying the Olympic flame across the UK while representing local communities, have been chosen by official sponsors of the Games.
The Guardian reports that of the 8,000 people chosen to carry the flame during the 70 day relay, 1,200 spaces were given to the International Olympic Committee, the British Olympics Association, and to staff working for Games sponsors, which has led to many not from local communities being handed the opportunity to carry the torch, instead of local inspiring people, as was first claimed.
The story emerged after an investigation was uncovered by website Help Me Investigate the Olympics, which has discovered many from outside the UK with connections to Olympic Sponsors, who have been chosen to take part in the relay, including employees of sportswear brand Adidas, petrol brand BP, energy company EDF and a Russian newspaper editor, handed his place by Coca-Cola and was responsible for allocating 1,350 slots.
Also carrying the torch last month was American musician Will.i.am, who then displayed it while appearing on the BBC Saturday night programme The Voice, on which he was a judge.
A spokesperson for London 2012, told The Guardian; "Staging the Olympic Games is a huge undertaking and we couldn't do it without the support from our commercial partners. The rights packages for some partners include a small number of torchbearer places that had to be filled through internal campaigns.
"The same torchbearer selection criteria applied across the whole relay – ie personal bests and/or contribution to the community."