Olympian and 6-time US 800-meter champion Nick Symmonds is auctioning off nine inches of ad space on his right shoulder on eBay.
Symmonds will emblazon the winner’s logo, URL or social media handle on his shoulder in the form of a temporary tattoo.
The space is available for the remainder of the 2016 track season, including the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics if Symmonds should qualify, according to the listing he posted on eBay Monday.
As of this publication, the auction has received 73 bids, and is sitting at $6,100.
The auction is part of an ongoing conflict between Symmonds and US Track & Field, whose strict rules regarding athlete sponsor advertising Symmonds describes as “antiquated” and “absurd” in the listing.
Last year, Symmonds was controversially left off the American team for the world championships in Beijing after he refused to sign the statement of conditions required by US Track & Field. Under the document, Symmonds would have had to wear exclusively Nike gear at all team functions, a stipulation Symmonds said would have violated his sponsorship contract with Brooks Running.
“Sometimes people watch the Olympics and think we’re still amateurs,” Symmonds told The New York Times in 2015. “This is not a hobby. I’m the chief executive of my own company. This is my career, my job. I have to make sure I protect my contracts with my partners.”
In 2012, Symmonds held a similar ad-space auction, which was won by Milwaukee advertising firm Hanson Dodge Creative for $11,100. During the U.S. Olympic Trials, which he won, and throughout the 2012 London Olympics, in which he finished 5th, Symmonds was required to cover the tattoo with white tape.
Earlier this year, a company co-owned by Symmonds filed a lawsuit against U.S. Track & Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee. In the lawsuit, Symmonds’ caffeinated gum company Run Gum argued that by restricting the advertising of athlete sponsors, the two organisations were in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
In his eBay listing, Symmonds says that a Run Gum tattoo will occupy space on his left shoulder, as it has in previous races.
The auction closes May 4, 10 days before Symmonds opens his 2016 season at the Shanghai Diamond League meet.
Symmonds is a two-time Olympian, and a silver medalist at the 2013 world championships in Moscow. He won six US 800-meter championships between 2008 and 2015.
At the 2012 Olympics, Symmonds finished fifth in the 800 meters with a personal best of 1 minute, 42.95 seconds. The run made him the third-fastest American of all time. (The second-fastest, Duane Solomon, finished just ahead of Symmonds in the same race.) The race, which saw David Rudisha of Kenya break the world record, has been called the greatest 800-meter race of all time.
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