Olympic brand-whoring attains new, shameful low

The Interational Olympic Committee — whose high-horse is well and truly elevated when it comes to lecturing atheletes about doping — is policing spectators at the games to ensure that they aren't toting brand-marks for their sponsors' rivals. Penalties for buying the wrong product range from confiscation of your goods to being forced to wear your t-shirt logo-side-in. The worst of it is the steaming craopla from the IOC official who says "We have to protect official sponsors who have paid millions to make the Olympics happen." Oh, rilly? Or what? They won't sponsor the Olympics anymore? Earth-to-official: companies sponsor your games because they're important and lots of people watch them, not because they can be assured that Olympic venues will be swept clean of rival logos.

It's well and good to tell atheletes that they compromise their integrity and shame the games when they take steroids, but what about the perceived integrity of the game when a ticket-holder is turned away for carrying the wrong brand of bottled water?

Strict regulations published by Athens 2004 last week dictate that spectators may be refused admission to events if they are carrying food or drinks made by companies that did not see fit to sponsor the games.

Sweltering sports fans who seek refuge from the soaring temperatures with a soft drink other than one made by Coca-Cola will be told to leave the banned refreshment at the gates or be shut out. High on the list of blacklisted beverages is Pepsi, but even the wrong bottle of water could land spectators in trouble.


(Thanks, Alfie!)