T-Mobile has some skin in the 2016 Olympic Games — literally. The Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless carrier placed the winning bid of $21,800 on 9 square inches of track and field athlete Nick Symmonds’ right shoulder.
Symmonds auctioned off his skin on eBay, as advertising space. He’ll wear a temporary tattoo, of T-Mobile’s choosing, during the 2016 Outdoor Track and Field season and in the Rio Olympic Games, assuming he is selected for the U.S. team.
He auctioned off his skin, for the second Olympic season in a row, as a protest statement of sorts.
“It raises awareness about the incredibly restrictive and unjust rules and regulations that the IOC currently has in place,” Symmonds writes in a blog post on Run Gum, a company he founded with his coach. “The restrictive and antiquated advertising regulations that the IOC uses has prevented thousands of professional athletes from earning a fair living.”
T-Mobile CEO John Legere was attracted to “the disruptive way Symmonds is taking action against the powers that be,” according to a spokesperson from the company.
Legere and Symmonds appeared on Facebook Live Tuesday to announce the partnership, from Brooks Sports in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
They revealed several designs for the temporary tattoo, including one that says “F^2% AT&T,” in true Legere fashion. They decided to go with a less inflammatory design, displaying the T-Mobile “T” in the company’s signature magenta.
John Legere pledged to wear the tattoo until Nick Symmonds makes the 2016 Olympic team.
“Americans — unlike many other athletes from different countries — we don’t get government support,” said Symmonds. “If you want to see Americans on top of the podium, if you want to see Americans winning the medal count, there’s only one way that we’re able to fund our dreams and that’s through corporate support.”