For those still seeking that last minute holiday gift, the International Olympic Committee may have what you need. “Olympic Athlete From Russia” merchandise.
The IOC has shut the door for the Russian team to compete in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics but not Russian athletes which caused a merchandising problem. The solution? Create a brand, Olympic Athlete From Russia, create a logo, after all the logo is the most valued possession in sports business not an athlete and use a red color similar to the Russian flag color scheme but not exactly the Russian red. Put the words in a circle and you have merchandise to sell complete with an official logo. The IOC has experience in allowing athletes from countries tossed from the Olympics in branding. Usually those participants fall under the Independent Olympic Athletes tag.
Russia was kicked out of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics earlier this month. The decision came after a debate on whether the Russian team should be banned because of a doping scheme. In 2016, World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren along with his associates looked into claims of systematic doping by Russian athletes in both the 2012 London and 2014 Sochi Games.
McLaren alleged that there was a conspiracy which involved the Russian Sports Ministry, national anti-doping agency and FSB intelligence service, providing further proof of state involvement in a massive program of cheating and cover-ups.
“It is impossible to know just how deep and how far back this conspiracy goes. For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived. It’s time that this stops.” The Russian team is gone but no need to worry, Russian athletes and merchandise will be available.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.