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Olympic Runner's 'Rent My Skin' Auction Nets $21,800

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A frenzy of last minute bidding on eBay Thursday produced a nice payday for two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds of Seattle.

The American 800-meter running champion auctioned nine square inches of his shoulder for a sponsor’s logo.

John Legere, CEO of wireless carrier T-Mobile, said he made the winning bid of $21,800 for the human advertising space.

Legere tweeted, "Happy to do my part to support USA running & this amazing athlete! Now what should I put on @NickSymmonds' arm??"

In an earlier interview with public radio, Symmonds explained why he's renting out his skin.

"I just wanted to see how big I could get it, how much money I could make for my company and how much more I could spread the message that the athletes' rights are being violated," Symmonds said.

Symmonds made it clear in the auction fine print that he will have to cover up or remove the temporary shoulder tattoo at track and field's highest profile events, including the U.S. Olympic trials and the Summer Games in Brazil.

Symmonds objects to restrictions on individual athlete sponsorships, which are designed to preserve the value of the Olympics brand for top sponsors. He's written about his objections on his blog.

The 32-year-old athlete was raised in Idaho, graduated from college and turned pro in Oregon, and he is now training for the Summer Olympics with the Brooks Beasts Track Club in Seattle.

The outspoken middle-distance runner auctioned his skin on eBay once before. The first time around he earned $11,100 from one sponsor ahead of the 2012 London Games. The rights to the shoulder advertising space last through one outdoor track season.

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.