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IOC Thinks About, Maybe, Letting Athletes Blog

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The International Olympic Committee said athletes competing at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing could possibly be allowed to blog about it – maybe – if they have to – but they’re still not really sure if it’s a good idea.



The Illuminati-esque multinational group of suits that makes a lot – A LOT – of money selling the rights to cover the Olympic Games said it would consider allowing athletes to post personal diaries on the Internet just so long as they are unpaid, don’t infringe upon rights of the accredited media, and, this is the good part, "so long as the Olympic village isn’t turned into a "Big Brother" reality show.

"We want to avoid a free-for-all situation," said IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies. Though some athletes at last year’s Winter Olympics in Turin blogged unofficially about the event, the popularity of the Summer Olympics is sure to spur a possible deluge of blogging fanatic athletes just freeballing it, telling all they see and hear there, which means official coverage media outlets and their cheesy over-hyped profiles could be undermined.

And that’s kinda bad for business.

But a still small voice from an IOC press commission "subgroup" recently decided that blogging by athletes would not violate Olympic rules as long as they received no payment, posted their entries as a "diary or journal" and do not use photos, video, or audio obtained at the games. Which one is the Big Brother again?

"Athlete blogs bring a more modern perspective to the global appreciation of the games, particularly for a younger audience, and enhance the universality of the games," the press group said.

But…

"We don’t want the village turned into a reality TV show during the Olympics," said Bob Ctvrtlik, a former U.S. Olympic volleyball gold medalist. "We also want to protect rights that have been sold to sponsors. As of yet we don’t have a clear consensus on it."

And besides, making it a reality show is NBC’s job, who pays them to be able to do that.

No statement was issued about spectator bloggers, however. But the IOC has been vigilant in the past about regulating how the word "Olympic" is used, or even demanding unapproved advertisers not use combinations of words that may imply Olympics, like "summer" and "games." They’ve even, at the Athens Games in ’04, refused admission to fans carrying the wrong beverage.

But it could be the IOC’s sudden openness to athlete bloggers could be the child of other motivations as well. It may be safe to predict that human rights groups will object to the games being held in China, where free speech is famously nonexistent. Regulating the free speech of athletes at that time probably wouldn’t look good. At TechDirt, Carlo agrees:

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.

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