Ten years on, it remains one of the most universally loved moments in British sporting history. And now, for the first time, a Team GB athlete has put their iconic kit from the London 2012 Olympics’ spectacular opening ceremony up for auction.
The fencer Laurence Halsted, who reached the quarter-finals in the team foil competition in 2012, said he had decided to sell his Team GB jacket, T-shirt, shorts and shoes from the ceremony to raise money for a charity that helps young athletes.
“My idea, like many Olympians, has always been to be able to show it to my kids and then they might eventually like to inherit it,” Halsted told the Guardian. “But for the past 10 years it has also been sitting in my mum’s attic, gathering dust, and it also struck me that there is no guarantee that they will be that excited to see it.”
“So I thought it would be better for the kit to go to a home that will definitely appreciate it - whilst funding the amazing work of the charity, The True Athlete Project, which has transformed the lives of young athletes and has a mission to create better wellbeing, social impact an a more compassionate culture through sport.”
Halsted said he had spoken to the British Olympic Association, who said it had not heard of any of its kit from the Danny Boyle-directed ceremony previously being sold.
The current price of the kit, which will be available to bid on for the next 11 days, is £250, which would be a bargain given how much the market for sports memorabilia has grown.
Earlier this year a jersey worn by the former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan in the 1998 NBA finals sold for £8.85m, while signed kit and shoes worn by top athletes are regularly sold for thousands of pounds.
“The 2012 Games will always remain one of the greatest highlights of my life,” said Halsted. “Representing your country at a home Games is a huge privilege and I have so special memories that I revisit often. But for the past six years of being involved with the True Athlete Programme, I have seen the lives of young athletes being transformed.”
However the good news for Halsted’s kids is that he plans to keep his competition kit – along with his closing ceremony outfit.
• This article was amended on 29 November 2022. An earlier version said that the opening ceremony kit going up for auction was designed by Stella McCartney. She designed the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic uniforms for Team GB but not the outfits worn at the opening ceremony, which were designed by Next.