• Germany's news in English

Olympic torch sponsor sends execs as runners

The Local · 17 Jul 2012, 07:26

Published: 17 Jul 2012 07:26 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Around 8,000 people are taking part in the 70-day Olympic torch relay across the British Isles, which leads to the opening ceremony in London on July 27. Most of them are British, and most have been awarded the honour because of their local community work or their work to promote sport.

But a small German contingent is also taking part, and many of them are connected with Samsung, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Monday.

The South Korean-based electronics giant is one of the three sponsors of the torch relay, and so has the right to nominate a number of bearers - and has picked several senior executives, business partners and friendly journalists. The firm is also a major sponsor of the games themselves.

In the run-up to the relay, Samsung publicly invited, "people who contribute to the community" to apply for a place on the relay. The company's German branch then sent 35 runners to carry the torch on Monday and Tuesday in the south west of the UK.

In a statement published at the end of May, the company said the 35 had been chosen for their "social engagement and particular personal contribution to run part of the torch relay in Brighton and Hastings."

But the Tagesspiegel said that of the 26 people whose names it has found out, more than half were closely connected to the company. Nine work for Samsung Germany - including six senior managers - another six are employ by electronic goods retailers, while two are journalists who specialized in telecommunications.

One of these is 37-year-old Berliner Fabien Röhlinger, who set up a website dedicated to the Android operating system which is used on Samsung phones. His blog published on Sunday describes how he won his place:

"As one of the founders and directing editor of AndroidPIT, one of the biggest websites in the world for the mobile phone operating system Android, of course I have regular dealings with the company," he wrote. "And it was Samsung itself that brought my attention to this great competition."

He went on to describe how his cousin had been a torchbearer at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. "He was a very good athlete in several disciplines,"

But Röhlinger wrote that even though he played sports in his free time, he would never be recognised for his athleticism: "That I might now get the chance through Samsung was like opportunity knocking. I wrote all this in my story."

A Samsung spokeswoman confirmed to the paper that there were "some employees and business partners" among the German torchbearers, but insisted that they were all people who "went the extra mile, in other words, people who are particularly socially engaged, or inspired others in some special way."

Story continues below…

The official Olympic Games website includes a space for the nomination stories of all 8,000 torchbearers - this space is empty for many of the German Samsung runners. According to research conducted by a group of British journalists, several Samsung executives from around the world are taking part in the relay.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:02 July 17, 2012 by puisoh
Is it such a big deal to carry the torch?? Maybe Fabien Röhinger will have this 'achievement' engraved on his gravestone some day.
10:37 July 17, 2012 by rosenthalenglish
Since when were Brighton and Hastings in South West England?Having grown up in Hove,which is now part of the city od Brighton & Hove,I should know.Brighton is 50 miles due south of London.Hastings 45 miles East of Brighton. The south west is Devon & Cornwall.Also this Olympics is not about sport but about Corporate sponsorship and large corporations taking over.The IOC act as if they are a world superpower with the crass demands they make which brings suffering to the UK population.The 9.3 million pound cost is also a scandal!
01:12 July 18, 2012 by zeddriver
And this is a big deal because? Samsung is paying big bucks. Why would it be wrong for them to carry the torch.
Today's headlines
Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd