Olympian Nick Symmonds, a vocal critic of what he calls track and field’s needlessly restrictive logo and sponsorship regulations, is auctioning advertising space on his body to raise money — and awareness.
Symmonds, currently the U.S. national champion in the 800 meters, will wear the winning bidder’s Twitter handle on his left shoulder for the duration of the 2012 season, which starts next month and includes events in Sydney and the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The goal is to draw support from fans and corporations to help finance his quest for Olympic gold while advancing his crusade against rules barring athletes from having sponsorships in the Olympics or Olympic-sanctioned races. Symmonds, who competed in the 2008 Olympics, argues regulations by International Association of Athletics Federations and USA Track & Field create a virtual monopoly for the few companies allowed to display logos on uniforms.
Although Symmonds says his sponsors, Nike and Melaleuca, “have done an amazing job helping me get where I am today,” he believes he and other athletes should be able to broker their own endorsement deals.