Beamon calls London brochure a 'fundamental breach'

Updated: June 3, 2005, 1:05 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- Two of the most famous Olympians are squabbling over a photograph -- a sign of the tension between rival cities in the final weeks of the race for the 2012 Games.

Bob Beamon, the former long jump gold medalist and world record holder, is upset London is using his picture in a brochure promoting its Olympic bid. The American backs New York.

The photo shows Beamon as he soars to a world record at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, jumping 29 feet, 2 ½ inches. The record stood for 23 years.

Beamon accused London of a "fundamental breach" of an Olympian's right to control his own image and demanded that London withdraw the brochure. London bid chairman Sebastian Coe, a two-time gold medalist at 1,500 meters, refused.

"No, we are not planning to withdraw it," London bid spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle said Friday.

The dispute comes just more than a month before the International Olympic Committee selects the 2012 host in Singapore on July 6. Paris, Madrid and Moscow are also candidates.

On Monday, the IOC releases its evaluations of the five cities.

Former American gold medalists Muhammad Ali, Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz and Greg Louganis also appear in London's six-page brochure, as does the 1992 U.S. gold-medal basketball team.

The brochure highlights key Olympic moments since 1948, the last time the British capital hosted the games. It was sent to IOC members and sports federations.

"I was surprised to see that you used my image to promote London 2012 without any consent or consultation," Beamon said in a letter to Coe. "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.

"The brochure must be withdrawn," Beamon wrote in the letter, widely published in British newspapers Friday.

In a letter to Beamon dated Thursday, Coe said the photo "formed part of a montage of photographs celebrating unforgettable memories from Olympic history and does not associate you or the other Olympic legends in the brochure with supporting London 2012."

Coe won the 1,500 at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics.

In a separate statement Friday, the London bid committee said: "The use of the photograph was in no way meant to imply support for the London bid but rather to celebrate great Olympic moments which are recognized across the globe."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press