Leap for London? Not likely, says Olympian Beamon

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The Independent Online

The "Leap for London" campaign promoting the capital's Olympic bid has featured images of great hurdlers, boxers and basketball players.

But with just over four weeks to go before a vote to choose the host city for the 2012 Games, the leaders of London's bid have made an enemy of arguably the greatest leaper of them all.

Bob Beamon, who provided one of the most enduring images of the modern Olympiad when he shattered the world long-jump record at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, has complained about the use of that famous image to promote the London bid.

In a letter to Lord Coe, leader of the London bid, Beamon said that by using the image in a video, mailings and a recently published brochure, London 2012 had overstepped the white line. "I was surprised to see you used my image to promote London 2012 without any consent or consultation," wrote Beamon, a New Yorker who is on the board of that city's rival bid for the Games. "This is not just a discourtesy but is, I believe, a fundamental breach of an Olympian's right to determine how his or her name and image is used for promotional purposes ... I would think that you would treat fellow Olympians with more respect."

But London said it had no intention of making the public apology Beamon has demanded, nor could it withdraw the image. Instead Lord Coe will write to explain the use of the picture.

Mr Beamon's agent, Frank Wheaton, told The Independent: "The only reason we have raised this is because we have been contacted by members of the International Olympic Committee."

The IOC said yesterday that it would not intervene.