Athletes at Pan Am Games may update their websites after all


By Kirsten Sparre
Athletes going to the Pan-American Games in Brazil next month can update their blogs and websites during the event after all. Four months after telling athletes from 42 countries that they could not “report for on-line sites during the games”, the organising committee has made a complete u-turn on the sensitive topic of athletes’ right to free speech.

The announcement came when the president of the organising committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, met with journalists from two Brazilian newspapers, reports the newspaper O Globo.

Nuzman said that the change had come about because of the policies on blogging he expects the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will adopt for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

“The IOC is currently studying the question of blogging and will publish its findings in 2008. Blogging is a modern trend in sport, and we are trying to establish rules for the Pan Am Games that will be valid until Peking. Anyway, I believe that blogging will be set free by 2012,” said Nuzman.

Nuzman also admitted that it would be impossible for the organisers to prevent athletes from updating blogs and websites as they all have access to wireless Internet in the athlete’s village.

Athletes who have been interviewed by journalists before the ban was withdrawn all agreed that it would be unworkable. Some of them pointed out that websites or blogs about athletes were not run by athletes themselves but by fans over whom they had absolutely no control.

As an interesting twist, the Olympic Committee in Brazil - that is also chaired by Nuzman - has opened its own website for interaction between fans and Brazilian sports stars. That website also hosts a number of athlete’s blogs.

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