As reported in this column, up and coming Jamaican track star Yohan Blake dutifully wore his special edition Richard Mille Tourbillon during his attempt to dethrone Usain Bolt as the fastest man in the world. Now he faces the prospect of a post-Olympic fine as a result.
As the newest ambassador for the brand, Blake showed the world how lightweight and versatile the Jamaican-themed Tourbillon is, placing second in the 100 meter dash with the tricolored watch hitched to his wrist. The yellow velcro strap stood out as brilliantly as his silver medal, but Blake may now be wishing Mille designed something a little more understated.
That’s because the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took notice of the $500,000 watch, and is described as being “furious” that Blake would dare to flout its strict corporate sponsorship regulations. Omega remains the official timekeeper of the Olympics, and according to IOC rules any athlete who needs to wear a watch must wear an Omega watch. IOC officials insist that such strict controls are necessary to attract corporate sponsors for the games.
In recent years the IOC has been the subject of scathing criticism of their corporate sponsorship program as it has become standard practice for officials to deny entry to any spectator with a logo on his or her shirt. Still, as this episode illustrates, the IOC seems likely to continue pursuing this avenue of protecting their sponsors, despite the protests of spectators.
Source and photos courtesy Yahoo! Sports.