The 1984 Summer Olympic Torch carried by Caitlyn Jenner, could fetch $20,000 when it goes under the hammer by Heritage Auctions in Chicago during its Platinum Sports Auction on July 30. Jenner carried the 24-inch torch when she identified as Bruce, through Lake Tahoe, Nevada en route to the summer games in Los Angeles. This is the first piece of memorabilia to be auction since he became Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner was America’s most celebrated Olympian when she was asked to by the management of Caesars Tahoe Hotel Casino, which had paid handsomely to redirect the 1984 torch relay route through its scenic environment, to contribute to its program benefitting America’s youth.
Jenner told a journalist from People Magazine, before the 1984 run, “I can’t stand running. And anyway I know people will laugh at me when they see my knees. But it’s for a good cause, so I’ll do it.” “At 34 years of age, and only eight years after her Gold Medal heroics at the 1976 Montreal Olympics,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Auctions at Heritage, “Jenner would carry the flame across the Nevada border into California and hand it off.”
The story is recounted by the consignor, Robert H. Lorsch – a marketing and promotion strategist who is also well-known for his work as an entrepreneur and philanthropist – who orchestrated the South Lake Tahoe leg of the relay and secured Jenner’s services for the program. Through his Foundation, Lorsch has loaned the prized torch out to Marathon Kids, a running and nutrition program, which held the final lap of its 2012 Marathon Challenge at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, making it the only torch from the Tahoe leg of the torch relay to also run in the Coliseum, the home of the 1984 Olympic Games.
“As the 1976 Olympic Decathlon Champion,” said Lorsch, “Jenner was the only celebrity runner designated during the 50 kilometer stretch that Caesars Tahoe sponsored.”
Now, 30 years after the Olympic Torch Relay, Caitlyn has become “The Torchbearer” for the transgender community, handing off a truly significant and one of a kind piece of sports, entertainment and cultural history.