Roll up, roll up. From relay batons touched by Usain Bolt to volleyballs covered in authentic sand from Horse Guards Parade, everything must go.
Even before the opening ceremony on 27 July, London 2012 organisers have announced plans to auction off Olympic torches and other "rare and remarkable" items of sporting memorabilia to subsidise the £2bn cost of staging the Games.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has unveiled plans to auction off not only torches used by celebrities among the 8,000 people carrying the flame on its 70-day journey around the UK, but also a range of other items used in sporting competition during the Games. Torches such as the one with which David Beckham lit the flame for the first time in the UK will come in a presentation box, complete with "metallic shards" signed by the bearer. Last night bidding for it was already in the thousands.
Other items on sale will include the tennis balls used at Wimbledon.
The money will subsidise the cost of the torches carried by members of the public. Organisers have been criticised for charging up to £225 for each torch, but have argued they are still subsidising the full cost.
"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," said Locog's commercial director, Chris Townsend.
Its chief executive, Paul Deighton, has promised MPs the budget will balance but has admitted margins will be tight – so presumably every penny that can be raised by the auction will help. Locog is on target to hit its ticket revenue levels, despite having more than 1.5m left to sell, and has raised more than £700m in sponsorship.
The plan to auction torches casts new light on Locog's reaction to the outcry after several torchbearers auctioned their torches on eBay. The organisers said only that those who had bought the torches could do with them as they pleased.
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