Olympic-Sized Arrogance

  • AP: Olympians largely barred from blogging. Athletes may be the center of attention at the Olympic Games, but don’t expect to hear directly from them online — or see snapshots or video they’ve taken.

  • This is about greed, nothing more and nothing less. It is about the historically corrupt International Olympic Committee’s desire to please the giant media organizations to which it has sold “rights” to tell and show the world what is happening.

    The irony here is that the olympic officials probably understand the future of journalism better than many of the people decrying its heavy-handed (and probably illegal) action. Because the more that regular folks — OK, that’s a stretch for the athletes — put their own work on the Web or send it to each other by other means — the more they are becoming some of tomorrow’s journalists.

    But the move is ridiculous. If an athlete phones a friend and reports what’s happened, and the friend posts it online, is that somehow breaking the rules?

    Go further. Look past today’s technology. What’s coming will utterly wreck the Big Media monopoly over Olympic images, and all Big Event images. When all spectators have a high-quality video camera in their phones, will the powers-that-be ban phones? Unlikely. But even if they could ban phones that are obvious, what will they do when we’re carrying video cameras in the buttons on our shirts, and when our eyeglasses contain phones or other transmitting devices?

    I hope athletes break this rule right and left. I also hope that they declare independence someday from the cynical and corrupt organizations that have run international sports for so long. The games are about the athletes, or should be.


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