NEWS

Olympics gear for sale as organizers face bills

08/14/2012 11:21 EDT | Updated 10/14/2012 05:12 EDT
The London Olympic Games are over, but the bills linger on, and organizers are finding ways to raise money with the sale of much-sought-after Games paraphernalia.

Officials have put almost 2,000 Olympic relics up for bidding at the official online auction site, along with a replica of the Isle of Wonder book that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling read from during the July 27 opening ceremony.

The U.S. flag used in the opening ceremony, for example, secured a top bid of £3,735 ($5,822), followed by Canada at £1,315 ($2,050) and Bermuda at £716 ($1,116), Agence France-Presse reports.

One of the costliest items sold so far is the Olympic torch signed by gold medal-winning British cyclist Bradley Wiggins. It went to a bidder who offered £13,000 ($20,262).

The Rowling book's price had risen to £1,066 ($1,670) on Tuesday after opening at £1 pound a few days ago.

The sale of the items will go toward covering the cost of staging the Games, as well as subsidizing additional costs incurred by selling Olympic torches to thousands of bearers at a discounted rate. In July, the complete official budget, initially pegged at $3.8 billion for the Games, had nearly quadrupled, with some British media estimates setting the total cost at as high as $38 billion.

Officials say the Olympic torches cost £500 to manufacture, but the 8,000 bearers who took turns carrying the torch in a 70-day relay ahead of the games could buy them for £200 as a memento.

Also for sale are used equipment from the competitions, including a javelin that's selling at just over £2,000.

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