LONDON Oregon Olympian and elite runner Nick Symmonds talked about his London experiences, his battle to change the rules over sponsorships, and what he does in his downtime in a special interview with KGW Tuesday.
Last winter, Symmonds auctioned his bicep for a temporary advertising tattoo. It's something he could not do during the Olympics. Symmonds was especially outspoken about it during the games and said athletes should have the right to market themselves and the sport.
I wanted to find more ways for athletes to market themselves to sponsors and increase their revenue, increase their earnings, he said. Really, what we're talking about is opening up to multiple sponsors. That involves wearing multiple logos on a jersey, or on arms, or being able to take a sip of your favorite sports drink on the track, he explained.
American sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross, who sells autographed photos and posters on her website, was also among the athletes taking part in a Twitter campaign, using the hashtags WeDemandChange2012 and Rule40.
Rule 40 is the International Olympic Committee policy barring Olympic athletes from using their names or likenesses for non-Olympic sponsor advertising during the games. The rule was in effect from July 18 through Aug. 15, three days after the closing ceremony.
The IOC said it pours 94 percent of its commercial revenue back into sports, that it is only trying to protect the money that comes into the Olympic movement.
Background: Symmonds rails on Olympic sponsor hypocrisy
Track and field isn't a big income sport like football, for example. Symmonds said it can be very challenging for runners to make enough money to pay for their training and expenses.
The rules, the way they're written, are a little bit outdated. They're ludicrous and they're handicapping an athlete's ability to earn a living. So I'm very adamant about changing those rules, he said.
Downtime from competing
Meanwhile, now that the London Olympics are behind him, Symmonds said he's been enjoying family time with his parents in Boise, Idaho. He said he's also been doing some fishing, hunting and crabbing in Oregon.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know fishing is a big part of my life. I got to go down to the Rogue [River] and catch some salmon and was back in Boise this weekend fishing. Basically at this time of year, I just go from fishing trip to fishing trip, he said.
As for his next goal, Symmonds said he's setting his sights on the Moscow World Championships in 2013.
I feel like I'm still finding my peak. At 28 I thought I probably would have peaked by now, but running almost a full second PR in the finals, obviously there's still more there to tap into, he said.