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01.25.12
How much is a spot on an Olympian's shoulder worth?

Nick Symmonds put his skin on the eBay auction site, offering to wear a temporary tattoo with the name of the highest bidder as he competes for a spot on the U.S. team for the London Games this summer.

The stunt wasn't so much to make money as it was to make a point. Symmonds, a four-time U.S. outdoor champion in the 800 meters, is a vocal critic of what he says are the "antiquated'' sponsorship rules of track and field's international ruling body, the IAAF, and to a lesser extent, the guidelines of USA Track & Field.

He says those rules limit the amount of money athletes can bring in to pursue their careers.

"My No. 1 goal, aside from making the Olympic team and winning a medal, is to bring awareness to how many struggling athletes there are out there - and wouldn't be if we could just lift these regulations and allow athletes to pursue individual sponsorships a little more freely,'' he said.

The space on Symmonds' shoulder commanded $11,100 from a Wisconsin-based active lifestyle marketing firm, Hanson Dodge Creative. In return for the winning bid announced on Wednesday, Symmonds will wear the company's Twitter name prominently displayed on his left shoulder throughout the season.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/track_field/wires/01/18/2080.ap.ath.symmonds.auction.1st.ld.writethru.1331/index.html

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