Friday, 10 August 2012

Blake wears custom $500,000 watch, IOC not happy

Yohan Blake’s wrist might get much more attention from the International Olympic Committee than Bolt’s entire body thanks to something Blake wore during the 100 final: a custom, $500,000 watch
made by designer Richard Mille.
As reported by TNT Magazine, the
watch, which you can see in the
photo on the right, is a
customised sports watch in the
green and yellow colours of the
Jamaican flag. Officially, the
timepiece is called a Richard Mille
Tourbillion watch, and the one-
of-a-kind piece of functional
jewellery was designed
specifically for Blake to wear at
the Games.
Blake followed through on his
part of the bargain, wearing the
watch during the semi-finals and
finals of the 100m dash, an event
in which he finished second,
behind countryman and world
record holder Bolt.
Yet that has infuriated IOC
officials, who have phenomenally
strict regulations about what
athletes are allowed to wear
while competing at the games.
According to strict sponsorship
regulations, Olympic athletes are
only allowed to wear gear that is
part of their country’s sponsored
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.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t
the first time Mille has sponsored
a major athlete at a significant
In June, Rafael Nadal wore a
$525,000 Mille Tourbillion watch
during a match at the French
Open. Similarly, American golfer
Bubba Watson wore a $525,000
Tourbillion during a US PGA
event, drawing the ire of
commentators on a handful of
golf blogs.
Yet neither Nadal nor Watson
was facing any kind of a fine for
their watch antics. Blake is, and
could find out as soon as
Thursday what kind of punitive
fines he’ll be handed for wearing
an unsanctioned watch.
After all, the IOC has to act fast, or
else Blake could wear the watch
again during the 200m on
Thursday night. You might even
say the IOC is on the clock …
whether it’s made by Omega,
Richard Mille or anyone else.

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