Ahh, Olympic athletes have it so hard: training just about every day with no break in sight, getting ridiculed for showing emotion, and—wait for it—not being able to wear whatever kind of headphones they like. So sad!
Apparently, the International Olympic Committee has their spandex panties in a knot because of some stealthy Beats marketing campaign that ninja’ed its way onto the heads of some valuable athletic noggins. Repeat-offender Dr. Dre sent gratis pairs of specially Union Jack-emblazoned Beats headphones to a gaggle of Great Britain athletes, which royally pissed off the IOC (he also sent his famous cans to LeBron James and the rest of the U.S. Mens national b-ball team back in the Beijing 2008 Olympics).
"If there is a blatant attempt at ambush marketing or by a group of people with commercial views, then of course we will intervene," IOC President Jacque Rogge told reporters at a press conference before the Games began.
The committee is tasked with protecting the interests of their corporate sponsors under a regulation called Rule 40. Many of the companies, like Samsung and Omega, pay millions of $$$ to feature their brand in Olympic broadcasts and demand exclusivity during airtime.
But tell that to U.S. hurdler Dawn Harper, who tweeted her distaste for Rule 40, complete with a twitpic of herself with tape over her mouth and the words “Rule 40” scrawled over it.
"I am honored to be an Olympian but #wedemandchange #rule40@NBCOlympics," read her complaint.
Still, the IOC is holding hard and fast to the rule, and say the athletes only need to bear with them for just one more month… then they’re free to jam to their Beats 24/7! "Those athletes lucky enough to have a high-profile sponsor can work with them throughout the four years," said IOC spokesman Mark Adams. "They have only one month where they can’t do that."