olympics121There’s a reason you won’t see any Instagram or Vine videos published on social media by Olympic athletes this month in Sochi.

The International Olympic Committee has banned athletes and other “accredited persons” — coaches, officials, National Olympic Committee personnel, etc. — from posting any video or audio of events, competitions or other activities taking place at Olympic Venues or the Olympic Village.

The IOC does, however, let participants record video or audio for their own sake, but it must be done with non-professional recording material — no TV equipment, tripods or monopods are allowed.

These are just a few of the slightly-ridiculous social media rules the IOC has implemented for this year’s Games. While participants can’t share video or audio, they can post written content and photos of their Sochi experience. However, the IOC demands that it be in a “first-person, diary-type format,” so to “not assume the role of a journalist, reporter or any other media capacity, or disclose any information which is confidential or private in relation to any other person or organisation.”

Banning-TwitterIn addition, the posts and photos must always “conform to the Olympic spirit and fundamental principles of Olympism as contained in the Olympic Charter, be dignified and in good taste, and should not be discriminatory, offensive, hateful, defamatory or otherwise illegal and shall not contain vulgar or obscene words or images.” Also, if you take a photo of other people within the Olympic Village, the IOC says you must get their permission to post before sharing on the Internet.

So, basically, the IOC doesn’t want athletes talking smack about how bad the conditions are in Sochi. Also, it looks like athletes can’t write in the third-person. Alrighty.

There’s even more. Athletes that have sponsorships may not post about brands unless they have written approval from the IOC or their National Olympic Committtee. For example, Shaun White can’t post about Oakley or Burton unless he’s pre-approved such actions.

“Social media activity by Participants and Other Accredited Persons during the period of the Olympic Games should be undertaken for the purposes of sharing their experiences and communicating with their friends, family and supporters and not for commercial and/or advertising purposes,” the rules read.

Athletes are also banned from posting images of the Olympic rings and can only use the term “Olympic” in their posts, blogs and tweets for editorial or factual purposes — athletes cannot combine the word “Olympic” with an any third party or third party’s products or services. Athletes are also banned from using Olympic properties like emblems or mascots without written approval.

There are also a few odd restrictions for media. For example, media organizations are not allowed to create Olympic-related websites or social media accounts, but they can create “sub-folders” dedicated to the Olympics:


The IOC is also very specific with its restrictions on Olympic apps developed by media. The Olympic rings and emblem can’t be used on the app’s thumbnail or within the app itself, nor can the app name include the terms “Olympic, Olympics, Olympic Games or Olympiad.”

Hat tip Matthew Keys

Sports junkie? Subscribe to GeekWire's Sports Tech weekly newletter


  • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

    absurd and draconian! And what penalty would they inflect on an athlete who posts something in violation?

    • riannonqas321

      my Aunty Grace got a nearly new blue Kia by working part
      time from the internet. look at this now B­u­z­z­3­4­.­ℂ­o­m

  • http://twitter.com/chrisamccoy Chris McCoy

    The future of sports and social media is media rights.

    This is the start.

    We’ll be seeing more of this in the future.

    Leagues will want some form of payment / revenue share from the platform companies.

    5-10 years out before mainstream though.

  • http://www.rideauction.com/ RideAuction

    Honestly, I’m not opposed to these strict Sochi rules and regulations. If the Olympics want their sporting event to remain in the top tier of professional and classy, this is the way to go. They are making sure their organization doesn’t have to deal with any mishaps that may occur with social media nonsense. Athletes, coaches, and other officials are busy staying focused on the games anyways so I don’t see the problem.

  • trawler trash.

    Most of these rules are standard, though, and have nothing to do with Sochi. The sponsorship stuff has nothing to do with Sochi. The next Summer Olympics will have most of the same rules.

  • CatinTx

    Controlling the narrative so they can be the exclusive profiteers.

Job Listings on GeekWork