POSTED: October 19th 2009

'Nuts' to scrap the international torch relay, says Koss

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON, Oct 19: Former Olympic speed-skating star Johann Olav Koss believes it is “nuts” and “crazy” to scrap the international leg of the Olympic Torch Relay for London 2012.

Koss was addressing a Global Sports Industry congress in London in his role as founder, president and ceo of Right to Play.

Members of a panel considering ‘business, sport and the community’ were asked to pick up on missed opportunities. Koss immediately jumped at the opportunity to raise the issue of the torch relay which had been marred, ahead of the 2008 Games in Beijing, by protest action in both London and Paris.

London Games organisers then decided to abandon the concept. But Koss said: “That’s nuts. This is crazy. The torch relay is a project which should be used to inspire everyone around the world with an understanding of Olympic values and principles.”


Afterwards he added: “The torch relay should be used as a platform to explain what Olympic values are all about: obviously it cannot necessarily change attitudes about freedoms and human rights but it can offer for a platform for these thing to be raised and discussed in proper forums and the right spirit.”

Koss also told the congress that major sports bodies did not invest enough money or effort or bring enough commercial support to the chosen host cities and countries.

He said: “The World Cup is in South Africa next year and it should be an ideal opportunity for marketing but I don’t see it happening. It’s an opportunity for people in football to tell the world why they love being in Africa but these are the last opportunities for now.

“It seems as if it’s enough for sports just to take their events to places. They should be doing more.”

Keywords · Koss · Global Sports Industry · London · torch relay

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