This year’s Olympics have by far been the most interactive. Athletes are no longer only seen on television as before. One should not be surprised to see engagement by way of comments, pictures and videos supplied by athletes using social media.
A myriad of fans, media, brands, etc. are equally as active and vocal during the Olympics whether live or tape delayed. That’s what makes the ubiquity of the Internet such a powerful tool. We enjoy supporting our athletes and cheering them on whether is screaming at the television or congratulating them on Twitter. Should athletes not be allowed to reciprocate his or her appreciation by thanking those that helped get them there?
Enter the blackout period, which is July 18 to August 15. Rule 40 of The Olympic Charter states “Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, pictures, or sports performance to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.“ It goes on to justify this rule by stating “the rationale is to protect against ambush marketing, which in the past has been used to show association with athletes and National Governing Bodies to suggest or imply they have an association with the Olympics Games.”
Basically, an athlete can’t send a quick shout-out thanking a sponsor unless they are an official sponsor or partner. That sounds fair doesn’t it? I understand they paid a hefty price to be affiliated with the Olympics, but so do athletes. Without athletes there would be no Olympics. They train hard and many also have jobs to support themselves. It’s not like they get paid to go to the Olympics, but that’s a different discussion that should be addressed as well.
Not everyone is a high profile athlete in a high profile sport. The Olympics garners the chance for athletes to compete against the best on the world’s largest stage. Prohibiting an athlete to represent their sponsors proudly on the podium is beyond me. Why would someone want to thwart an athlete from showing appreciation to a sponsor that helps him or her? Oh, it’s the imminence of ambush, right?
The audacity of someone to attempt to silence the people dumbfounds me. Rule 40 was obviously created to help athletes in the long run and other companies are too insignificant to matter. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well online, but I’m sure you can imagine my facial expression and tone. What about the growth of the sport? Again, I suppose an ambush is on the horizon.
They can’t blackout fans and supporters. Sally Bergesen, founder of Oiselle did a great post properly titled BS on the Olympics Games Sponsor Blackout. Join me in letting others know how thankful we, too, are of companies and brands that encourage you to “Find Your Strong,” “Run Happy”, and “Do What Moves You.” Let your voice be heard and “Let’s Make Excellent Happen.” It’s not wrong for me to be passionate about this. After all, “I Am What I Am.”
Do what you do best. Blog, tweet, share pages, and spread the word! Follow me and the conversation on Twitter using the following hashtags #WeDemandChange #Rule40
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