by Carlo Longino

Olympic Organizers Appear To Be Learning From China When It Comes To Athletes' Blogs

from the pay-for-the-privilege dept

While the Olympics project an outward image of a friendly event in which sporting achievement and sportsmanship is paramount, there's a rather ruthless marketing and money-spinning organization behind them. The International Olympic Committee and its affiliates are pretty well known for their rather ridiculous attempts to control use of the word "Olympic" and bend over backwards, even trying to get laws enacted, to protect their paying sponsors. Part and parcel of this are their attempts to stifle media coverage of the event, both in order to control the messages, but also to wring as much money as possible out of the coverage rights. In the past, this has meant that athletes weren't allowed to have personal blogs, with organizers threatening to remove blogging athletes' credentials and sue for "damages." Now, however, the IOC has changed its stance -- sort of -- and says that athletes will be able to blog during the 2008 Summer Olympics, but it's still considering what system to use and restrictions to place on them. This still seems pretty silly: the IOC says it has concerns about privacy, but this would just seem to be an attempt to justify control and censorship of blogging athletes. Given the attention that China's human rights record draws, in particular its censorship of the internet, it seems a little ironic that the IOC is still wrestling with how to stifle and control athletes' expression during the games that will be held there. Somehow, we imagine it's equally possible that all they're really doing is trying to figure out a way to get somebody to pay to be the "exclusive blogging provider" for the games, and once that happens, everything will be kosher.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Feb 8th, 2007 @ 2:33pm

    Martian Olympics

    If Chinese athletes compete on Mars, can they blog there?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    MadJo (profile), Feb 8th, 2007 @ 4:34pm

    Companies and organizations need to learn...

    ...that they can't control everything (and they need to learn that fast).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    LOL, Feb 8th, 2007 @ 4:39pm

    Knee How Ma?... Well that would make the "martian chronicles" authentic! I mean its the "red planet", right? might be chinese owned!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Duluth Citizen, Feb 8th, 2007 @ 5:57pm

    IOC even hits small bands

    There was a local Minnesota band, not big at all, that called themselves "The Olympic Hopefuls" until they got a threat of a law suit from the IOC unless they changed their name.

    People are way too money hungry and need to get a wake up call from reality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    a, Feb 8th, 2007 @ 6:35pm

    who the hell would want to read a blog by an olympic competitor? Maybe a fencer or some girly man sport like that, can't imagine many hoops or wrestling competitor would really be blogging much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    honico, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 3:01am


    a: Who would blog? -Those who train to compete. Who would read? -Also those who also train and compete. As an Ultra-marathon runner, I'd be interested in the reflections from the "girly-boy"(!?) marathoners.--when they're in-country. It's strange running in other cultures--and I'd listen in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Mousky, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 5:55am

    Re: IOC even hits small bands

    Just like the NFL did with the Super Bowl, the IOC has turned the Olympics into a financial monster. Sponsors pay so much, some would say overpay, for rights that they put the screws on the IOC to enforce their rights, no matter how ridiculous the lawsuit is.

    The NFL, the IOC, the RIAA, the MPAA and so on, view anything that is not 100% approved by them as infringement issue and as a attack on their revenue stream. They never ever see it for what it really is: free advertising. Plenty of businesses function for decades solely on word of mouth marketing.

    I'm not a football fan, but in the past, I knew that the Super Bowl was around the corner based on the phrase "Super Bowl" appearing in almost every ad. Then the NFL 'cracked down'. This year, I kind of forgot about the big game. So in the name of protecting revenue the NFL decides to forego the free advertising that made the Super Bowl what it is today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 6:20am


    Wouldn't this fall under free speech? And I have to say that I would at least check out a blog by a fencer. I don't fence myself but I love watching it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    dillenger69, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 9:59am


    I've refused to watch the Olympics for years now.
    It started going down hill when they switched to the every other year format.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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