from the all-about-the-profits-for-the-olympics dept
In our comments, Emily White, the founder of a crowdfunding for athletes site, Dreamfuel, which many Olympians use to help fund their training or the abilities of their families to come see them at the Olympics, shared her story as well. That included being told that a company built specifically to help fund athletes can't congratulate their own athletes:
We're thrilled to be able to provide a new and viable revenue stream to all athletes, whether they are Olympic sports or not.I've been speaking with Emily about all of this and apparently after pressure from the Olympics about their special campaigns to get funding for families to come to the Olympics, they were told to never mention the Olympics or "Olympians" at all. They can only say "athletes" who are going to "Brazil" (they were told they can't even say "Rio").
We have been contacted by the USOC about all of the above (our team was stunned that we cannot publicly congratulate Dreamfuel athletes who qualify for The Olympics). I want to add that we've also been told that we also cannot post the press we've been receiving on the funding we've been generating for Olympic athletes (we don't have a publicist; all press on our mission is organic by nature) because it uses the O word.
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.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.
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.
I'm hoping that someone, somewhere eventually challenges the Olympics with a declaratory judgment filing or something. The trademark claims here are ludicrous and are directly being used to silence speech.