Nick Symmonds, the top US 800 meter runner and the number 6 ranked 800 runner in the world in 2011, is selling his body on eBay. Now, this is not nearly as bad as it sounds. In fact, it is a good thing. Symmonds is the poster child in the fight against the USATF and IAAF regulations about advertising. He argues that athletes should have more say in how their bodies, uniforms, warm-ups, etc. are used for advertising. Current regulations are very limiting to how much money an athlete can earn. I understand that the USATF and IAAF might want to preserve the dignity and national pride at large events like the world championships and Olympics but they should have little say in what athletes say, do and wear outside of those events. At the New York Marathon in November, Lauren Fleshman was forced to remove temporary tatoos on her arm- advertising her own business, Picky Bars. This event ended up working in Fleshman's favor as her website had 86,000 views later in the day but she should not have had to interrupt her pre-race routine in order to find rubbing alcohol to take off the tatoos. I like to think I own my own skin, don't you?
Anyway, back to Symmonds. Auction Link He is selling a spot on his left arm where he will put the lucky bidder's twitter name. Currently the bid is up to $4,350 with 3 days remaining. It has recently plateaued so it will be interesting to see how much higher it gets. Symmond's listing is fairly elaborate and contains all events he plans to run in 2012. Here is the list:
Feb. 18th Sydney Grand Prix
Mar. 3rd Melbourne Track Classic
May 5th Oregon Twilight
May TBD USATF High Performance Meet
June 6th Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, OR
June 26th-June30 USA Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR
Aug 20th Herculis, Monaco Diamond League
Sept. 6-9 2012 Olympic Games in London, United Kingdom
TBD Post-season events.
Overall, I think this fight is a good one for the sport. Track athletes don't make very much money unless they are at the very top. This will allow lower ranking athletes the chance to obtain more sponsorship money so they can put more emphasis on training. Often times athletes give up the dream soon after college because they can get a career and become financially secure. I hate to admit it but Nascar does something right. They have hundreds of sponsor logos all over the car. It creates a variety among the cars. In track there are the adidas guys, Nike guys, Saucony guys, and Brooks guys. Usually about 4 different uniforms. It might spice it up a little bit.