British Sprinter James Ellington Leaves eBay Behind by Signing with New Sponsor

January 18, 2012

James Ellington’s failed attempts to get Olympic sponsorship on auction site eBay has finally gained the British sprinter some notice from sponsors after shaving brand King of Shaves signed a deal with the Olympic hopeful.

Ellington thought he had succeeded in covering his travel, accommodation and uniform costs for the London Games when he received a $53,700 offer on eBay.

It turned out to be a hoax. But a shaving product manufacturer has stepped in to sponsor the 26-year-old Londoner.

“Going on eBay gave me amazing exposure, but unfortunately the winning bidder wasn’t genuine,” Ellington said Tuesday. “I couldn’t be happier that the deal has been sorted. Now I can focus on winning a medal for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics.”

Ellington ran the third leg when Britain won the 4×100 relay at the European Team Championship last year. But a string of injury problems meant Ellington missed out on major sponsorship deals or national lottery support.

“I personally want to thank all of the people who emailed, tweeted and wrote to me,” said Ellington, whose 20.52 seconds in the 200 in France last year was the fastest time by a British athlete at a non-altitude venue. “I’ve been so touched by all of your messages of support and even donations to my cause. Whatever I manage to achieve at London 2012, I’m doing it for you.”

Ellington offered to wear branded uniforms at training and media events at “all appropriate opportunities” until the end of the Olympics in exchange for sponsorship. He estimated that he needed at least $46,000 — half in wages and the rest to cover expenses.

Ellington’s new sponsor, King of Shaves, previously sponsored British skeleton competitors Kristan Bromley and Shelley Rudman at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.