Aug 03

#TEAMUSA

The Olympics start in Rio on Friday, but we aren’t supposed to tell you that on this web site or on Twitter of Facebook. We aren’t suppose to congratulate the athletes either. Why, you ask is that? Well, according to International Olympic Committee and the US Olympic Committee it’s to protect the athletes and prevent the over commercialization of one of the most commercialized sporting events ever. None of the money that the games generate from their broadcast goes to the athletes, it all goes into the pockets of the IOC and its members.

How The Olympics Bullshit Ban On Tweeting About The Olympics Is Harming Olympic Athletes
Mike Masnick, Techdirt

Every couple of years as the Olympics gears up again, we end up posting a series of stories about massive bullshit overclaims by the Olympics concerning trademark law. And none of it is actually about what trademark law allows. It’s all about the Olympics’ weird infatuation with making sure no company that doesn’t give them a ton of money first can “associate” with the Olympics. Again, that’s not how trademark law actually works, but few companies are willing to stand up to the International Olympic Committee or the US Olympic Committee. This year, the crackdown seems even more ridiculous than usual, with letters being sent to companies who are helping and sponsoring athletes stating that, unless they’re official sponsors with the US Olympic Committee, they can’t even tweet anything mentioning the Olympics. Companies that had sponsored athletes were being forced to blur out or delete social media posts about their own athletes because their racing bibs said “Olympics” on them.[..]

Last Wednesday, the rules got even stricter as “Rule 40” went into effect. This ratchets things up to ridiculous levels and basically says that if a company so much as tweets a congratulations to an Olympic athlete, that could cost the athlete their medals. Really. And, yes, that’s totally fucked up. Ridiculously, the Olympics claim that they put in place Rule 40 to prevent commercialization of the games, that are perhaps the most commercialized sporting event ever — it’s just that all the money goes to the Olympics themselves, and not to the athletes.

At least one company went so far as to build an entire marketing campaign around attacking Rule 40:

During the U.S. Olympic track & field trials earlier this month, a flatbed billboard truck traveled around the University of Oregon campus, bearing slogans such as, “Not pictured here: an athlete living below the poverty line to bring glory to their country.” It was part of a campaign, called “Rule 40” in reference to the section of the Olympic charter which it disputes, that went live in early June and has mainly consisted of social media posts and covertly-distributed T-shirts and stickers.

The campaign takes issue with an International Olympic Committee rule preventing any participant in the Olympics—athletes, coaches, trainers and officials—from capitalizing on their own image for advertising purposes from nine days before the opening ceremony until three days after.

There’s even a Rule40.com website protesting the ridiculousness of these rules, and it’s getting lots of folks talking about how ridiculous these rules are.

For some, like “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, these silly rules are not insurmountable. Where there is a will, there is a way. Show them how it’s done, Stephen.