Monday, 23 April 2012

What lengths will Olympic athletes go to to be sponsored?

With the Olympic budget spiralling out of control the sponsorship system continues to fail struggling athletes in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games. 

Through this lack of support athletes are turning to drastic ways to compete equally with other athletes and obtain sponsors. The example of Olympic runner James Ellington highlights the real struggle within the athletic community and the failure of the sponsorship system.

Olympic sponsorship is a form of survival for most athletes, especially those who compete in non-paying events such as the Olympic Games. Sponsorship can cover the cost of living and training for amateur athletes in several different forms including private, corporate, and team ownership.

According to 
“Olympic sponsorships contribute more than 40% of Olympic income” and with the Olympics fast approaching sponsorship deals for athletes are becoming more sought after. One athlete who took his search for an Olympic sponsor to the next level is UK Olympic runner James Ellington who after struggling to find a sponsor put himself on Ebay in a last ditch attempt to secure a sponsorship deal.

Although Ellington managed to secure a place on team GB without any kind of kit endorsements or sponsorship he still was desperate for commercial sponsorship so he could be able to compete to his best potential.  Ellington revealed in a recent BBC interview (see the hyperlink for a link to their article and a video of his televised interview)

In this interview Ellington discusses how Olympic funding doesn’t filter down, in some cases, where it’s needed most, leaving talented athletes struggling to compete but supports “Pin athletes”.  It is transparent that the budget favours the more recognisable athletes such as Usain Bolt and also the Games’ reputation e.g. the opening ceremony.

But why is this? Ellington’s story highlights where the current Olympic sponsorship system and budget fails to support individual athletes. In a recent report the Daily Mail breaks down elements of the Olympic budget and states that the budget is currently 10 times what was previously predicted in 2005. The report states that 

"The predicted cost of the games when London won the bid in 2005 was £2.37billion. That figure has now spiralled to more than £12billion and could reach as much as £24billion, the Sky Sports investigation claims...This figure includes the build of the venues and the £600million police and security budget. The government has just allocated an extra £41million (with a £7million contingency) from this budget to LOCOG to pay for the Opening Ceremony, which is set to cost £81million total"

Reading through this article you can see that a lot of money has been allocated to the Olympic legacy, stadiums and legalities but there is no mention of support for the athletes themselves or any sponsorship allocations.

It is becoming increasingly clearer that athletes have to take sponsorship matters into their own hands and attempt to get their own sponsorship deals. With all the previous gold medal winners and recognisable faces getting the easy ride athletes who have previously struggled with injury or are less well known are getting left at the side lines. Ellington managed to secure a sponsorship deal with a shaving company but will all struggling athletes have to take such extreme measures, and should they have to? Shouldn’t the Olympic budget, organisations such as LOCOG and sponsorship system prioritise our athletes? 

1 comment:

  1. See my advice about beginnings - you can chop your first par out and rewrite the second par as a stronger lead. (Likewise the last line of your last par)

    Make sure you link any statement to the evidence behind it, e.g. "With the Olympic budget spiralling out of control".

    Split your pars after you've made a point, and if your sentence still makes sense without any words, remove them (e.g. try to chop words from these: "In this interview Ellington discusses how Olympic funding doesn’t filter down"; "It is transparent that the budget favours the more recognisable athletes"; "Reading through this article you can see that...")