Watch out! Blake could face sanction
— for timepiece breach says report
LONDON, England — Reports surfaced yesterday that men's 100m and 200m silver medallist Yohan Blake was facing a fine from the International Olympic Association (IOC) after wearing an expensive Richard Mille watch during his races.
Articles on the Internet said that Blake's watch which he wore in the semi-finals and final of the men's 100m last weekend "has infuriated IOC officials, who have phenomenally strict regulations about what athletes are allowed to wear while competing at the Games".
The custom built watch, which is said to cost about US$500,000, has attracted a lot of attention and there are rumours that the athlete has been fined, but his agent Cubie Seegobin told the Jamaica Observer yesterday they had not heard anything official from either the IOC or the Olympic organisers here.
The article on the EuroSport website stated: "According to strict sponsorship regulations, Olympic athletes are only allowed to wear gear that is part of their country's sponsored apparel.
"Similarly, if athletes use a piece of equipment that isn't strictly clothing, they are required to use the official sponsor of the Olympics in that category.
"Omega is the official watchmaker of the Olympic Games. Richard Mille is not. That may create a very large problem for Blake, who could now be facing a significant fine as he prepares for his final individual event of the London Games."
However, Seegobin, Blake's agent, told the Observer yesterday that the athlete "is entitled to wear a watch. Watches, eyewear and footwear are categories on which athletes are allowed to conclude personal contracts. He has not breached any rules, and or contracts."
A release from the manufacturer sent to the Observer said: "Richard Mille is a brand that relishes the challenge of developing exciting watches with all its sports ambassadors when competing in their respective sports. Yohan Blake is wearing a Richard Mille watch to which there is no retail value as it is a specific prototype sporting Jamaican colours. This follows the same brand philosophy we currently develop with our other sports ambassadors and in the near future Yohan Blake will develop with Richard Mille a specific running watch."