8000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way
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8000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way

All proceeds go to the Brittle Bone Society

About the Book

For 70 days in 2012 8,000 people carried the Olympic torch across the UK. Every one was supposed to have an inspirational tale, with 90% of places available to the general public. But as the website Help Me Investigate analysed the data, names and documents behind the relay, a picture emerged which suggested the Olympic Torch Relay was far from an occasion "for everyone". At almost every stage of the allocation process torchbearer places were given to executives at sponsors and their commercial partners, awarded to staff for sales performance, to diplomats, journalists and media bosses - while the organisers failed to enforce their own guidelines.

This is the story of how one inspirational wheelchair racer, and tens of thousands of others with inspirational stories, missed out on the opportunity to carry the Olympic torch - and how key promises made by the Olympic torch relay organisers LOCOG were not met.

All proceeds from the book go to the Brittle Bone Society. Or you can donate to Jack Binstead's fundraising page directly at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=JackBinstead2016Paralympics

About the Authors

Paul Bradshaw
Paul Bradshaw

Paul Bradshaw runs the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University, where he is an associate professor. He publishes the Online Journalism Blog, and is the founder of investigative journalism website HelpMeInvestigate. He has written for the Guardian and Telegraph’s data blogs, journalism.co.uk, Press Gazette, InPublishing, Nieman Reports and the Poynter Institute in the US. Formerly Visiting Professor at City University’s School of Journalism in London, He is the author of the Online Journalism Handbook, now in its second edition, Magazine Editing (3rd Edition) with John Morrish and Mobile-First Journalism with Steve Hill. Other books which Bradshaw has contributed to include Investigative Journalism (second edition), Web Journalism: A New Form of Citizenship; and Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives.

His books on Leanpub include Scraping for JournalistsFinding Stories in Spreadsheets, the Data Journalism Heist, Snapchat for Journalists, and 8000 Holes: How the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lost its Way.

Bradshaw has been listed in Journalism.co.uk’s list of the leading innovators in journalism and media and Poynter’s most influential people in social media. In 2010, he was shortlisted for Multimedia Publisher of the Year. In 2016 he was part of a team that won the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.

In addition to teaching and writing, Paul acts as a consultant and trainer to a number of organisations on social media and data journalism. You can find him on Twitter @paulbradshaw

Carol Miers
Carol Miers

Carol Miers is an online writer and journalist, who has been working from South West France since 2009. Previously writing for www.landscapejuice.com she has also contributed to the Connexions, an English language paper in France. She also contributes occasionally to www.thisfrenchlife.com.

While in the UK Carol Miers was, for a short time, a secondary teacher in the inner cities in Design Technology electronics. Previous to that she was a broadcast engineer in BBC News and Current Affairs, London and Wales.

Over some years Carol Miers mainly focused upon radio production, including spells in local radio (Riverside FM ) writing, presenting, producing, interviewing and editing and a summer with NPR Knoxville, USA.

She attended the Data Journalism bootcamp at CIJ City with David Donald, Centre for Public Integrity, in April 2012.


Table of Contents

  • Part 1: Where did the torchbearer places go?
  • A moment to shine - for some
  • Part 2: Getting your money’s worth
  • Coca Cola: “A host of new ambassadors”
  • Samsung: “Everyone’s Olympic Games”
  • Part 3: A very specific “general” public
  • Part 4: The 21%
  • Tarred with the same brush
  • The journalists and media bosses
  • Mystery torchbearers
  • Part 5: 8,000 Holes
  • Hi, we’re the replacements
  • Afterword
  • Acknowledgements
  • How the story unfolded
  • About Help Me Investigate

Causes Supported

Brittle Bone Society


The Brittle Bone Society is the only charity working with people who live with Osteogenesis Imperfecta(OI) and supports over 820 members and their families across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Our work involves addressing isolation and facilitating networking opportunities.

The Brittle Bone Society is the only charity working with people who live with Osteogenesis Imperfecta(OI) and supports over 820 members and their families across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Our work involves addressing isolation and facilitating networking opportunities. We provide support, signposting, advocacy, factual information, obtain funds towards purchase of specialised wheelchairs and equipment and provide subsidised access to our conference events. We also provide access to the best medical and healthcare professionals in the UK specialising in metabolic bone health disorders. When a parent learns their new baby has the condition it is vital they connect with our Support Worker. We fund specialised wheelchairs (costing £3k-£16k) not available from the NHS that help with mobility and independence. Our latest project – our new Volunteer Support Group Programme helps provide a sense of community to OI families, to help combat isolation, promote living successfully with OI and help families connect with Brittle Bone Society services and resources.

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