John Smallwood: Officials rip rogue condoms

Posted: August 10, 2012

I'VE BEEN in arenas where I've had to pour a drink into a cup bearing the logo of a league's official sponsor.

Corporations pay big money to be the "exclusive" whatever for an event like the Olympics and they expect brand protection.

So organizers of the London Games are warning athletes in the Olympic Village that if they are going to "get busy," they better use the official condom of the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Following a tradition that began at the 1992 Barcelona Games and supported by the IOC, the London committee placed 150,000 free Durex condoms in dispensers for the more than 10,000 athletes.

Durex paid for the rights to be the exclusive condom supplier.

So concerns were raised when BMX cyclist Caroline Buchanan of Australia posted a photo on a Twitter account of a bucket of unauthorized condoms with the sign "Kangaroo condoms, for the gland downunder."

The "Kangaroo" condoms were believed to be supplied by Ansell Ltd., an Australian company, and Pasante, a private British firm that are both rivals to Durex.

Athletes and officials are permitted to bring personal items into the village, but product promotion rights are strictly monitored by Olympic organizers.

A spokeswoman told The Guardian newspaper that the organizers "will look into this and ask that they are not handed out to other athletes because Durex is our supplier."

Both Pasante and Ansell denied involvement in promoting the most secretive of Olympic sports.

The London Games condom total broke the record of 10,000 set in Beijing 4 years ago. The organizer of the 2000 Sydney Games rushed in 20,000 additional condoms after athletes rolled through the initial allotment of 70,000.

Blade derailed

Early on Thursday, it looked like the Olympics for Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee runner from South Africa, were over.

On the track to run a leg of the 4 x 400-meter relay, Pistorius never got the baton because one of his teammates collided with a runner from Kenya and fell.

South Africa appealed on the grounds that the Kenyan team had impeded the progress of Ofenstse Mogawane.

Kenya was disqualified and South Africa, the silver medalist at the last world championships, was given a spot in Friday's final.

A little perspective

We'll forgive Gabby Douglas because she's just 16 years old and has been caught in a whirlwind of nonstop hype since she won the individual all-around gold medal.

Yes, Douglas is just the third American and first woman of color to win gymnastics' crown-jewel event, but it's still just sport.

"I've always wanted to inspire people, and the thing about the Olympics, this quote 'inspire a generation' - so, you know, I can check that off my bucket list.

"I'm just so happy that more people are starting to come into the gymnastics world."

Enjoy the attention and endorsements, but don't let that anagram from your last name - USA GOLD - go to your head.

In another month, the NFL will have started and few people will remember London.

Sacre bleu!

The cycling team from Great Britain is ripping through the competition at the London Velodrome, taking seven of 10 gold medals, and France isn't happy.

French cycling performance director Isabelle Gautheron said she was "perplexed" by the British success and the French social media network is hot with talk of cheating.

Nearly 70 percent of 50,000 people responding to a question in the French sports newspaper L'Equipe said they thought the British success was suspicious.

"We've got a system that seems to be delivering, and it's driving the French mad," Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron chirped on BBC radio. "I did an interview with French television and they virtually accused us of cheating."

France has been twisted like a croissant since Briton Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France last month.

Cameron said that France should thank itself for Great Britain's success.

"The French should know our secret because you make our wheels," he said in reference to French manufacturer Mavic. "You know they're round. They go fast because they pedal hard.

"I understand that for France, which is a great cycling nation, it must be a bit hard to take. I think it's unfair to think that just because someone wins you have to doubt it. The first reaction should be say, 'Well done, congratulations.' "

Statute of limitations

Had United States cyclist Tyler Hamilton waited one more summer to admit that he had indeed repeatedly used performance-enhancing drugs, the gold medal he won at the 2004 Athens Games would be safe.

But an Olympic official told the Associated Press that with the 8-year deadline for stripping medals approaching, the IOC will meet Friday to readjust the standings from the road race time trial and give the gold to retired Russian rider Viatcheslav Ekimov.

After denying the allegations numerous times, Hamilton told "60 Minutes" last year that he had indeed cheated.


Contact John Smallwood at smallwj@phillynews.com

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