USA’s top-ranked middle-distance track athlete Nick Symmonds is auctioning off a temporary tattoo on his shoulder, highest bid now US $3,100 for having “Your Twitter Name on an Olympian in 2012”. Their are restrictions forcing him to cover up the tattoo with tape at all IAAF governed meetings, but he promises wear it under the tape, to remove the tape as soon as the rules permit, to mention the sponsor’s Twitter name in all interviews before and after the event, and why it has been covered during competition.
The auction is part serious and part stunt. Symmonds is trying to draw attention to rules that block athletes from wearing corporate logos on their race clothing at most top meets, rules he thinks not only are out of date, but also damaging to the sport.
“One of the reasons I’m doing this is to increase awareness of these logo restrictions and how really crippling they are to athletes,” he said Thursday. “I think this auction goes to show that there are many, many people who would love the opportunity to invest their dollars in track and field, but they’re just not able to due to these restrictions.”
Still, Symmonds acknowledges that he’ll have to remove or cover the tattoo during races in order to compete in high-profile meets, including this year’s Summer Olympics in London. As distance runner Lauren Fleshman had to remove temporary tattoo logo of an energy bar she co-owns before last year’s New York Marathon. This is more like planting a seed, he said.
“In my ideal world I just want people to get excited about track and field, and more specifically for some of the people in power to understand that there are so many people and corporations that want to get involved in investing in track and field but just aren’t able to,” Symmonds said. “There is interest out there. Lots of interest.”
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