Lindsey VonnSports enthusiasts around the world are geared up for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, CA. This is the perfect venue for social media platforms to be involved – let athletes from all parts of the world stay in touch with their friends and family.  However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has implemented extremely strict social media guidelines for all athletes and participants to abide by.  Athletes are not to post any type of videos, Olympic logos, or action photos.

The dissemination of moving images of the Games through any media, including display on the Internet, is a part of the IOC’s intellectual property rights. No sound or moving images (including sequences of still photographs which simulate moving images) of any Olympic events, including sporting action, Opening, Closing and Medal Ceremonies or other activities which occur within any zone which requires an Olympic identity and accreditation card (or ticket) for entry – e.g. competition and practice venues, Olympic Village, Main Press Centre – (“Accredited Zones”) may be made available, whether on a live or delayed basis, regardless of source.

Violation of these Guidelines by an Accredited Person may lead to the withdrawal of such person’s Olympic identity and accreditation card, as foreseen in the Olympic Charter. The IOC reserves the right to take any and all other measure(s) it deems fit with respect to infringements of these Guidelines, including taking legal action for monetary damages and imposing other sanctions.

These strict guidelines are forcing most athletes to refrain from participating in any type of social media.  One of the potential stars of the 2010 Olympics, Lindsey Vonn, mentioned to her nearly 35,000 Twitter and Facebook followers that she would not be posting until after the games were over.  Vonn wrote that “because of the Olympic rules (blackout period) I will not be able to post any updates from now until march 3rd. Sorry, it bums me out too!”

I’m surprised the IOC has not embraced social media – it would be the perfect opportunity to get more fans and visibility of the games.  Let’s hope they change their policy for the 2010 Summer Games?