Nick Symmonds (left/photo by Paul Merca) of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts has sold a piece of his arm to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, who won an eBay auction that ended Thursday May 5th.
Legere, who has supported several American distance runners over the years out of his own pocket, including marathoner Meb Keflezighi, bid $21,800 for the right to put a logo on 9 square inches of Symmonds’ right shoulder for six races, including the US Olympic Trials and the Olympics, assuming he finishes in the top three at the Trials.
In describing the auction, Symmonds wrote on the eBay page, “Due to antiquated rules, during all IAAF, USOC, and IOC governed competitions, I will be forced to tape over all forms of advertising on my body except the logos of my apparel and equipment manufacturers. Though these absurd rules certainly diminish an investment in an athlete, please know that I will put in extra effort to ensure that the winner of this auction realizes a fantastic return on investment.”
Symmonds told ESPN’s Darren Rovell, “"The sale of my skin is just another example of an athlete taking control of the valuable space that we own," said Symmonds, who sold the rights for a similar temporary tattoo to a marketing agency for $11,000 in 2012. "Allowing us to better market ourselves will inject tens of millions of dollars into the sport and help professional runners, 50 percent of which now live below the poverty line, make a living."
"As CEO of T-Mobile, we don't put up with bureaucratic B.S.," Legere said. "The IOC makes billions off sponsorship deals. I'd like to see more of that money find its way to the athletes who deserve it most."
Legere went to Twitter to ask followers what to put on Symmonds’ right shoulder, and this image (left/courtesy twitter.com/JohnLegere) was the poll winner:
Symmonds opens his season on May 14th at the Shanghai Diamond League meet, followed four days later with the Beijing World Challenge meet.
Meanwhile, Washington’s Izaic Yorks was added by the USTFCCCA to its Bowerman Award Watch List after his outstanding run Sunday at the Payton Jordan invitational at Stanford.
"It was in Palo Alto, California where Yorks beat several battle-tested Olympians (Mo Ahmed, Henrik Ingebrigtsen, Evan Jager and Lopez Lomong) as well as another strong collegian (Oregon’s Blake Haney) and finished in an NCAA-leading time of 3:37.74."
The last Husky to make the end-of-season Bowerman Award list of semifinalists was three-time NCAA pole vault champion Scott Roth in 2011. The only athlete with Washington ties that made the top three in the final voting was Washington State’s Jeshua Anderson in 2011.
NOTE: The USTFCCCA & the University of Washington contributed to this report.