Athlete Blogs Banned at 2006 Winter Olympics?

Posted on January 29, 2006

A Kyodo News article says Japan is advising their athletes not to blog during the 2006 Turino Winter Olympic Games because it is banned by the Olympic Charter.
The Japanese Olympic Committee is telling athletes competing at the Turin Winter Olympic Games not to open web logs because the Olympic Charter bans athletes' journalist activities when the games are on, and violators will be disqualified.

After Kentaro Minagawa (Albirex Niigata) finished fourth in the Men's World Cup Slalom in Wengen, Switzerland, on Jan. 15, he updated his blog the next day.

He wrote: "This evening, I am relaxing as yesterday's event is finished. I want to win, too. I want to slide down faster than anybody else."

Shin Taira, head of the JOC's business publicity department, said, "We are in trouble because there is no clear-cut standard to judge to what extent journalist activities are allowed, but diaries and detailed reports are no good during the Olympics period."

This was also the case at the 2004 Olympics according to a post in 2004 by Ross Mayfield and a USA Today article from August, 2004:
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.

The International Olympic Committee is barring competitors, as well as coaches, support personnel and other officials, from writing firsthand accounts for news and other Web sites.

An exception is if an athlete has a personal Web site that they did not set up specifically for the Games.

The IOC's rationale for the restrictions is that athletes and their coaches should not serve as journalists � and that the interests of broadcast rightsholders and accredited media come first.

Roger L. Simon is also inquiring about the 2006 policy regarding Olympic athelete blogs for Pajamas Media. It is unclear exactly what the policy will be for the athletes but fans may have to wait until after the Olympics to see personal photographs and blog entries by the Olympic athletes themselves.

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