EUGENE -- A track and field athlete preparing for this summer’s Olympics sold a part of himself Saturday.
Olympic athlete Nick Symmonds is the number one 800-meter runner in the country—and 6th in the world—but he had something else up his sleeve; he offered ad space on his shoulder to the highest bidder.
The highest bidder in an eBay auction gets to put a Twitter name there for the year as a temporary tattoo. And the highest bid was more than $11,000.
“I started at 99 cents, and within 24 hours it was well over a thousand dollars,” he told KGW.
“I am prepared to put @ilovejustinbieber on my arm,” Symmonds said Friday. “I reserve the right to approve what goes on my shoulder.”
A publicity stunt? Absolutely. In some events he’ll have to cover his tattoo up, perhaps creating more attention. The elite athlete says it isn't just about him--it's about a sport he says is killing itself.
He has sponsors, like Nike, but he says track and field rules seriously limit when and how he can use and wear those sponsorships.
Some in the sports marketing arena say he has a good point.
“Track and field only enjoys exposure every four years—for the Olympics—and they’re not well funded,” said Lynn Lashbrook with Sports Management Worldwide. “So I think they do have to be creative.”
“I just think that the athletes who are making the show possible should also be compensated,” Symmonds said.
The bidding was up to $4,350 Saturday morning and didn't move much throughout the day, but just before the auction ended the price shot up to $11,100.
The London games begin July 27.