for those in the snow

Aussie ski resorts silenced by the AOC

Australian ski resorts told to delete social media references to Sochi athletes. Perisher responds with hilarious video. Snow It All Exclusive.

Perisher Resort poked their tongue out at Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter today with the release of YouTube video congratulating a no name athlete for winning gold.

The Olympics is a quagmire of rules and restrictions designed to protect sponsors and broadcasters who pay seriously big bucks to have the rights to use the Olympic Rings. The broadcasts right alone bring in $4billion of revenue for the IOC over the summer and winter Olympics.

However ‘Rule 40′ of the Olympic Charter advises that no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performance be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games black out period (January 31 to February 26).

Put simply, they cannot sport sponsorship logos or promote their sponsors. The only sponsors allowed are official partners. This has already led to rumours of Samsung requiring athletes to tape over any apple iPhone logos.

One tweet from an Australian ski resort has already caught the eye of the Australian Olympic Committee’s policing of Rule 40.


The removed tweet from the Hotham twitter account

It resulted in a letter to remove said tweet and other social media athlete mentions and a request to refrain from further mentions of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, the Australian Olympic Team or any Australian Olympic Winter Athletes.

The problem was the tweet used the names of 2014 Australian Olympic Team Members and according to the AOC then created an unauthorised association between Hotham and the Australian Olympic Team. As they are not an official partner of the Australian Olympic Team they are then, according to the letter, not permitted to promote an association with the team or individual athletes of the team.

This may then apply to all businesses in Australia and be impossible to monitor surely?

A number of the Australian ski resorts received a similar letter this week from the Australian Olympic Committee who, thanks to Rule 40, have to spend hours trawling through social media for athlete references. There have already been 1.7million mentions of #sochi2014 on twitter since February 6, and many by businesses. That is a lot of trawling for the poor person employed to monitor Rule 40.

This means no ski resort in Australia can congratulate an athlete, retweet a tweet from an athlete, share any media stories about athletes. Nothing. No instagram, no Facebook, no Twitter.

Hotham, who also provide an athlete pathway to the Olympics by hosting FIS Boarder Cross and FIS Skier Cross and the FIS ANC in slalom and GS, have since removed all of their posts that engaged their audience in the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Yet athletes can openly display the under side of their skis and snowboards with full sponsor names when standing on camera waiting for their scores with no penalty to the sponsors involved. Go figure.

I realise the Olympic Charter exists as protection but this is 2014 and social media is the way of the world. Preventing ski resorts that are the training grounds of current and future Olympians and are the touch point for most mainstream viewers looking to enjoy a winter sport may not be the way forward.

The tweet from Hotham makes no reference to Greta Small being a Hotham athlete and Aussie resorts have been and still are congratulating all athletes (not just their own) from around the country on all their social media channels since the start of the games. It isn’t called promotion it is called pride.

Europe enjoys around two hundred million skier days a year, the USA fifty six million and Australia has an impressive two million from a population of twenty two million.

Viewers of the Olympics who ski and snowboard see their ski resorts social media channels as a place to find information about world and local snow sports events and that includes the Olympics. Many receive messages asking when their favourite Australians are competing and where.

Growing winter sports is about working with, not against, ski resorts of the world. The more interest in winter sports the more interest in the Winter Olympics. It is a win win.

Athletes who rely on sponsorship support in order to train to make Olympic level also rely on the social media reach of local ski resorts. The more reach the more sponsorship opportunities. This is good news for those who are outside of the limited funding offered by the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia and other governing bodies.

Surely Rule 40 can be amended to contain social media guidelines for ski resorts to adhere to whereby they can help spread the word and get into the Olympic spirit of their nation’s athletes.

It is not like Hotham is in direct competition with Rosa Khutor ski resort simply by hemisphere location alone, one north, one south.

UPDATE: Someone may want to alert Steve Lee commentator for Australian broadcasting of alpine racing about Rule 40 as he referred to Greta Small as a Hotham athlete with her home mountain being Hotham.

“I’ve seen lots of Facebook posts of support from Hotham”  uhhh, Steve, not anymore.

What do you think of Rule 40? Is it time to amend it? 

Read the full Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter here.

Update February 16: We were sent this image of different ski resorts worldwide showing their support to their athletes. Rule 40 may be one rule for some one rule for others.


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9 Responses to “Aussie ski resorts silenced by the AOC”

  1. Adam

    Heard some rumors in 4 years time some aussie athlete’s will try and fly under the NZ banner simply because of the drastic demands the AOC is putting on them.

  2. Frosty lawyer

    AOC has misunderstood Rule 40. Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter only binds Participants and other Accredited Persons, not resorts or other non-accredited persons. If a breach of Rule 40 is committed by reason of advertising by a resort or other advertiser, it is the athlete or other Accredited Person that is in breach.

    The relevant obligation in by-law 3 of Rule 40 is that “no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games”. The critical word is “allow”.

    The athlete must not enter an agreement or arrangement with the advertiser for use of their name. If asked by an advertiser to allow their name or photo to be used, they cannot say “Yes”.

    But there is no breach by the Participant if their name or image is used without their consent.

    Anyone in the world who is not a Participant or Accredited can use the athlete’s name or photo, provided that they continue to respect laws concerning copyright in photographs and videos, laws regarding use of the Olympic trade marks, and laws which prohibit a business from claiming an endorsement or association that does not exist.

  3. Frosty lawyer

    AOC also ought be careful that it is not misleading or deceptive in requiring people to remove posts, by suggesting that it has a lawful basis to do so when it may not.

  4. Sean Callanan

    Rather strange for AOC be targeting ski resorts, why stop there? IOC needs to come into the new age on this, social is here and it is amplifying the Sochi games. Strictly speaking shouldn’t Twitter Australia be pulled up for their tweet congratulating Torah Bright encouraging people to use their commercial platform to support the Australia Olympic Team? Don’t agree with that point but a nice counter for ski resorts.


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