Simon Plumb is a journalist for the Herald on Sunday

Olympians warned #nosexdrugsorbooze

Kiwi Olympians are being warned about drugs, alcohol and sex in a new set of social media rules designed to keep athletes from international embarrassment at Rio 2016. Photo / Supplied
Kiwi Olympians are being warned about drugs, alcohol and sex in a new set of social media rules designed to keep athletes from international embarrassment at Rio 2016. Photo / Supplied

Kiwi Olympians are being warned about drugs, alcohol and sex in a new set of social media rules designed to keep athletes from international embarrassment at Rio 2016.

After a series of controversies involving Kiwi sport stars, including all-too-revealing selfies of top rugby players, the New Zealand Olympic Committee has launched a new social media policy to guide the internet activity of the Brazil team.

The contracts athletes sign have also been tightened. A list of dos and don'ts carries serious warnings about harming New Zealand's international reputation and individual careers, the risk of losing fans, sponsors and future job opportunities, and breaking the law.

The new rules also take into account the Harmful Digital Communications Act passed last July that captures online behaviour such as "cyber-bullying".

The NZOC's move comes after an incident at the last Winter Olympics two years ago when Te Puke snowboarder Rebecca "Possum" Torr made global headlines.

The 23-year-old announced on Twitter that she was searching for a partner in the Olympic village on dating app Tinder and added she was keen to meet the Jamaican bobsled team.

London 2012 Olympic star Eric Murray issued a public apology before he won gold at the last summer Games, for venting an expletive-laden tweet at a journalist.

As preparations for Rio intensify, the NZOC says it must keep up with technology and athletes' behaviour.

"After Sochi we adapted our policies to reflect the increasing influence of social media," said spokeswoman Ashley Abbott.

"We developed a specific social media policy and guidelines document that was designed to make the benefits, risks and policy rules more clear to athletes. The document is educational and designed to provide guidance to athletes on how to manage their reputations online, develop a positive social media presence and respect others."

Athletes are also warned about seemingly harmless posts of the Games themselves.

"No video or audio recorded from any Games venue (including the opening and closing ceremony) and the village may be shared online, inclusive of Instagram. There is no restriction on sharing video or audio recordings taken outside Games venues, as long as it meets our other guidelines," says NZOC advice.

Athletes and sponsors will also have to watch for "ambush marketing", with non-Olympic partners not allowed to use certain Olympic-related words and logos. That extends to the NZOC telling athletes, their commercial partners and national sport bodies what they can and can't do with protected phrases, such as using the term "Olympic Gold" in promotion and advertising.

- Herald on Sunday

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