Sprinter James Ellington's Olympic 2012 eBay Sponsorship Turns Out To Be Hoax

British Sprinter's eBay Bid For Sponsorship 'A Hoax'

British sprinter James Ellington, who advertised himself on eBay to gain sponsorship for the London 2012 Olympics has been disappointed after the winning bid of £32,000 appears to have been a hoax.

Ellington posted his London 2012 'sponsorship for sale' advert on eBay in December, an unusual move on an auction site more usually known for selling second-hand clothes and household items.

He put a reserve of £30,000 on the Olympics sponsorship offer, intending to use the money to allow him to train round the clock, buy specialist kit and book accommodation close to the Olympics ground. In return he was to offering to wear branded clothes at training and press events in the run-up to and after the London 2012 Olympics.

Ellington from Lewisham, South London took to eBay as he missed out on personal sponsorship after suffering four years of injury. Understandably James Ellington said he "couldn't be happier" with the result, which came in £2,500 more than his reserve.

However his joy has fallen flat as eBay's attempts to find the closing bidder have proved fruitless. Ellington told the Daily Telegraph:

"There seem to be a few sad people out there. For me personally, I wouldn't be messing about with someone's career but there are certain people out there who like to mess things up."

"I've spoken to the guys at eBay and they say they are still trying to get in touch with the highest bidder, but they are finding it difficult and they are not sure whether the top bids may be people just messing around.

"They're just checking out whether the bids are genuine. They haven't got to the bottom of it yet so I'm still waiting to find out what's going on, which is a bit frustrating.

"It obviously concerns me because it was for a good cause and it's a serious thing that I'm doing. If people have been bidding just to mess about, then it's annoying but hopefully there are some genuine bids there."

However with the publicity of both his eBay bid, and then reports of the hoax, the auction house feels it won't be long before someone pledges their support for Ellington as he prepares for the 2012 Olympics.

An eBay spokeswoman said: "It's unfortunate that this top bidder doesn't appear to be bona fide. We are a trading platform and ultimately we need people to play by the rules.

"It's pretty rare and I'm confident that James will still get some sponsorship out of this. He's obviously had tremendous publicity from just being on eBay, so I think the outcome for him will be a good one."


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