Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake has been busy cruising down the athletics track at the Olympics stadium but might find himself cruising into trouble after raising the attention of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which is said to be unhappy about his choice of watch – a bespoke Richard Mille.
The IOC has strict guidelines concerning branding at the Olympics. It aims to eliminate the exposure of non-Olympic brands at the Games and has clear guidance for spectators entering the arenas not to wear clothing with logos larger than a few centimetres on them.
Omega is the official timing partner and timepiece sponsor of London 2012 but Blake’s unmissable yellow Richard Mille which he has worn when racing – his image has been depicted to millions on television and in the media – is said to have roused the attention of the IOC.
So far Blake has worn the timepiece while racing in the heats and finals of the 100m and 200m races.
The watch, worth several hundred thousand pounds, is bright yellow and green in reference to the Jamaican flag. The colourway was chosen to fit with the confines of the strict Olympic apparel regulations, but Richard Mille may be pulled up for other breaches as, according to strict sponsorship regulations, Olympic athletes are only allowed to wear items that are part of their country’s sponsored apparel. The Richard Mille watch, however, is a bespoke model created by the brand for Blake.
Last week it was reported that Richard Mille would announce a sprinter as its latest sporting ambassador, but would have to wait until three days after the Games’ closing ceremony to officially announce the name of the sprinter.
Tennis star Rafael Nadal is also sponsored by Richard Mille and despite Rolex being the official timekeeper of the tournament at Wimbledon, with branding across the courts and scoreboards, Nadal has been able to wear his watch during matches. His Richard Mille hit the headlines earlier this summer after it was stolen from his Paris hotel room during his appearance at Roland Garros. The watch was later found after a member of the hotel staff admitted to stealing it.