Last Monday I put my body up for sale on the internet, again.
Specifically, I put nine square inches of my right deltoid up for auction on eBay. This area is to be used by the highest bidder as advertising space as I compete internationally as a professional track and field athlete during the 2016 outdoor season.
Over the last week, we have seen the highest bid climb from $0.99 to $10,100 where it stands as of the publication of this blog. I have done many interviews with national media outlets, spoken with CEOs and CMOs of interested companies, and responded to hundreds of comments on social media. The question I am asked most: "Why are you doing this?"
The answer to that question is somewhat complicated and can only be properly answered in three parts.
1.) My job as a professional athlete is to attract corporate sponsors. Unlike athletes in nearly every other country, US Olympians and Olympic hopefuls get zero support from our government. Therefore, we are almost totally reliant on corporate partners to fund our training. This auction is proving to be a very good way for me to gain an additional corporate sponsor.
2.) Another part of my job as a professional athlete is to make sure that my current sponsors get a great return on their investment. My sponsors desire exposure and I understand that it is my job to put their logo in front of as many eyes as possible. Certainly the easiest way for me to do this is to run fast and win. While that is my number one focus, I am also able to gain exposure for my sponsors off the track. If you look at the eBay auction you'll notice that the auction picture includes the Brooks Running and Run Gum logos. The auction summary mentions Soleus Running and Sweat Mobile. Over 30,000 people have viewed this auction. Each of those views is another earned impression for the incredible companies that have helped fund my training over the last few years.
3.) The last, and most important reason for this auction, is that it raises awareness about the incredibly restrictive and unjust rules and regulations that the IOC currently has in place. The restrictive and antiquated advertising regulations that the IOC uses has prevented thousands of professional athletes from earning a fair living. A recent study shows that nearly 50 percent of professional track and field athletes live below the poverty line here in America. It is estimated that the IOC will bring in over 4 billion dollars in advertising revenue this year and ZERO of those dollars will be shared directly with the athletes. This auction brings attention to the #OwnYourSkin movement which demands that the IOC share 50% of their revenue directly with the athletes and allocate a space for each Olympic athletes to sell to his or her sponsors. To join this movement and learn how you can help fight for athletes' rights please visit Own-Your-Skin.com.
The IOC has become very rich off the hard work of the athletes. They exploit that hard work for their gain, treat the athletes poorly while they are in the village, and send them home with nothing of value to show for years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice.
There has been some criticism that I am holding this auction for personal gain. My answer to that is, "of course, I am!" I am the owner of two for-profit businesses and I wake up each day with the responsibility of ensuring that those companies earn money. I am not a hero, I am not a martyr, I am not a saint; far from it in fact! I am simply a businessman, a lover of capitalism and of free markets, who desires to see people paid a fair wage for their hard work.
Go to eBay Auction ⬇️