London’s original bid for the Olympics was $5 billion. That number is now estimated to be $15 billion and British Prime Minister David Cameron doubled the budget for the opening and closing ceremonies to about $125 million. NBC paid $1.18 billion for the rights to broadcast the Olympics on the Internet and on television in the United States.
IOC, Bureau and Technical Committee members fly to the Olympics first class, are lodged in 5 star hotels and rest their privileged backsides in limos to be shuttled back and forth to venues in 5 star comfort.
Athletes are lodged in dormitory rooms and shuttled to the venues on buses- some, like the Olympic tennis players, face 6 hour bus trips from the Olympic Village to Wimbledon each day of competition.
The IOC hammerlock on Olympic athletes ramped up another notch with IOC Rule 40 which puts athletes Facebook and Twitter accounts on equal footing with doping as grounds for disqualification. Rule 40 is the section in the athletes’ code of conduct that warns that any athlete flouting the strict guidelines on the use of social media as a promotional tool will be expelled from the Games.
The IOC also reacts badly to criticism of the organization. National committees warned their athletes that any act of dissent, such as the Rule 40 tweets (#rule40, #wedemandchange) , could be grounds for disqualification.
Dozens of athletes responded to IOC threats, including U.S. 400-meter star runner Sanya Richards-Ross.
"I'd love to show my great sponsors love, I am one of the very fortunate athletes that work with wonderful sponsors during the Olympic year. [This is an] injustice. I believe that the Olympic ideal and the Olympic reality are now different,”
Richards-Ross said only 2 percent of American athletes can tweet about their sponsors because they have USOC or IOC sponsors. The remaining 98% of athletes, sponsored by companies without the $billion resources of Coke and Proctor and Gamble are under the official IOC gag order.
That did not stop U.S. 20-kilometer race walker Maria Michta, who gave an eloquent description of how the regulations have affected her.
"I have no big brand corporate sponsor who gives me free gear, pays me a salary and gives me a bonus for making it to events like the Olympics," Michta wrote on her personal blog. "My sponsors are my family, my friends, my high school community, the family of race walkers around the country. My sponsor bonus comes from each and every dollar thrown in my bucket, every donation on my website. Those are the sponsors that I represent.” Michta goes on to say "And because of rules like Rule 40 and others I could not use the image of myself at Olympic Trials or the title U.S. Olympian in any pictures, posts or tweets to fundraise money to help pay for my travel expenses and get my family, the family that has sponsored me from day one, over to London to watch me compete."
Like Maria Michta, 98% of all Olympic athletes train full time with little or no income through 4 years of preparation for the Olympics. Forbidding these athletes to show some love to the family, friends and small companies that help them along the way punishes the majority of athletes in the games.
It’s an easy decision for the IOC Pimp Daddy Dr. Jacques Rogge sitting in Londons 5 star Park Lane Hilton with his $20,000 gold Omega watch…not so much for the Olympic athletes sweating through 4 years wondering where their next meal is coming from.
Sam Mellinger summed it up in his article in todays Kansas City Star.
“The athletes aren’t asking for anything special. They’re asking for free speech that will help them make a living — and help them make the Olympics even more competitive.
That means Rogge (IOC president) doesn’t have to do anything special to make this right. He just has to stop running things like a greedy jerk.
Support athletes by signing the Change.org petition against the restrictive practices being enforced by the IOC.