When a medical technology company paid $12,000 for the services of Adam Nelson in May they probably did not realise what a bargain they had.
Nelson, who was born, lives and trains in America but is a member of Birchfield Harriers, won the World Championship shot putt title on Saturday with a best of 21.73 metres but at the start of this season did not have the money needed to continue his training.
"I was still without a sponsor coming into the outdoor season. We needed some money to get through the first half of the year so I decided to put myself up for auction on eBay," said Nelson, who joined the Stags four years ago to come under the auspices of former international shot-putter Bob Weir, now the head shot putt coach for the United States team.
He offered himself for a month of promotional duties and MedivoxRx won the bid.
"I had over 100 bids and over 12,000 hits on the auction site," the 30-year-old said. "$12,000 for a month pays a couple of food bills."
The move paid off and after finishing runner-up at the last two World Championships and Olympic Games, Nelson finally claimed his first global title.
On a wet Helsinki evening, Nelson gave his all in the opening round and held on for the gold ahead of Rutger Smith of the Netherlands.
Nelson said he thought his problems obtaining sponsorship were because of the bad publicity his event sometimes attracted.
"I think it's time that sponsors should change their minds when they see the support we get internationally," he said.