Entries in Olympic torch (2)


Olympic Torch Sparks Controversy About Bearers

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Raquel Matos, a 16-year-old champion Scottish swimmer, carried the Olympic torch for part of its journey through Edinburgh, Scotland, and was thrilled over the honor.

“It’s like showing how this one flame brings the world together,” said Matos, after completing her section of the torch relay Thursday.

The teenager is one of 8,000 people selected by several games’ panels to carry the torch around the majority of the United Kingdom.  Controversy surrounding this selection process recently came to public attention after one young athlete from the west of England had his torch bearing privilege revoked two weeks before he was supposed to run.  He was replaced by two wealthy business executives, reportedly recommended by Adidas, a major sponsor of London 2012.

“There’s been a lot of rumors that people are paying to carry the torch,” Jillian Hilling from the U.K. Labor party told ABC News.  “I know we all made a collective decision that we can’t expect taxpayers to entirely fund the Olympics, and we do need sponsors.  But people are saying that there’s a lot of business people carrying the flame.”

Hilling voiced these concerns earlier Friday in the British Parliament.  Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson replied that he had seen “absolutely no evidence” of these claims.

“The London Organizing Committee have specifically gone out of their way to look for community champions,” Robertson remarked.

A spokesperson for the Organizing Committee said, “She basically got confused.  In the case of the young man who didn’t end up running, he was never ‘replaced’ by Adidas.  He failed background checks.”

But the family of Jason Taylor, the young athlete in question, insist that his record is clean.

“We know he hasn’t done anything wrong,” Julie Berrisford, Taylor’s mother, told ABC News.  “He was sent an email by the committee congratulating him, that his background check was clear.  Then two weeks before he was supposed to run, he was sent another email saying he had failed the check.”

Taylor refused to comment, but Berrisford added, “I’d like if they put it right and gave an apology so he can get his reputation back.  A local politician has now taken up the case and hopefully they’ll find something.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police Say Demonstrators Tried to Ambush Olympic Torch Bearer

PETER MUHLY/AFP/GettyImages(LONDONDERRY, Northern Ireland) -- Authorities in Northern Ireland say a 58-year-old grandmother and community activist was ambushed by a group of demonstrators Monday as she carried the Olympic torch towards the Peace Bridge in Londonderry.

The demonstrators, described by police as Catholic activists and supporters of the Real IRA, shouted Nazi references towards Isobel Coote as she was flanked by officials on her way towards the bridge across the River Foyle.

“We did not want to do anything to the torch,” one of the original organizers of the protest, Josephine Canning, told The Times of London. “The plan was just to get a hearing for our complaints against the police.”

Officials believe the demonstration was in response to a series of drug and weapons raids carried out by the Londonderry Police on Friday.

Police say one person was arrested but that no injuries were reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio