The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

February 18, 2014

Olympians tiptoe around sponsorship ban

(Continued)

Pandora, the jewelry company that sponsors U.S. figure skaters Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold, isn't an Olympic sponsor. It has had to put on hold an advertising campaign it prepared with Gold and to stop running magazine ads that showed Wagner, their agents said.

For Sochi, the rule applies from nine days before the opening ceremony until three days after the closing — Jan. 30 to Feb. 26.

While the IOC has steadfastly defended the policy, the committee appears willing to consider changes in the future.

"It's up for discussion and debate," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. "It's an open issue at the games. We'll discuss it with all the stakeholders."

Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, said the rule would be reviewed just like all other aspects of the games. "It's like any rule," he said. "If you aren't happy about it, then we can talk about it."

Athletes aren't all happy about such policies. U.S. skier Ted Ligety labels the rule "barbaric." Before the blackout kicked in, he tweeted: "I want to give a shoutout to my sponsors that supported me for years yet arent allowed to get OLY love."

Figure skater Gold left one of her favorite jackets at home because it was made by Pandora. She said she did not want to risk falling foul of the "very frightening" thicket of rules.

The U.S. team "gave me clothes and those are the clothes I'm going to wear, you know? If they give me a certain type of water, that's the water I'm going to drink. You really just can't risk it," she said.

Norwegian online store Ludo, which sells everything from clothes to electronics, used a product featuring cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen on its website early in the games.

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