We are one day away from the start of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. And although social media has been around for a few years, this will be the most Tweeted, Facebooked, YouTubed Olympic games ever.
Soon we could see well-known American speedskater Apollo Ohno or skier Lindsey Vonn breaking world records. Both athletes have Twitter accounts that they actually run themselves. However there is a bit of confusion on if the athletes will be able to tweet or use any social media for that matter.
A few weeks ago Vonn tweeted “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!”
Follow Olympian Nick Pearson also posted something similar to his Twitter feed. “Due to Olympic regulations I can no longer post pics on Twitter through the Olympics. But I will still keep you updated!!!!!!!!”
Bob Condron, the Director of Media Services for the United States Olympic Committee, heard this and confirmed that there are no rules for Olympians on using social media or blogging during any “blackout period.”
“Athletes are free to blog during the Games,” Condron said. “And Twitter is just a blog that’s written 140 characters at a time.”
The confusion is believed to come from guidelines written by the International Olympic Committee for blogging. Athletes are restricted to only sharing things based of their personal experiences.
“You can’t act as a journalist if you aren’t,” says Condron. “You need to do things in a first person way.”
In regards to Pearson’s comments of posting pictures, IOC guidelines clearly state that athletes are allowed to post pictures online as long as they aren’t photo’s of them in action during their sport during the Games.
“These are going to be the Twitter Olympics,” says Condron. “There’s no telling where the updates will come from. It could be the bench during a hockey game, or even on the medal stand.”