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"It was pretty crazy to see what we are not allowed to do or supposed to say," said short-track speedskater J.R Celski, a frequent tweeter. "No advertising and just making sure you are positive, but it's understandable."
Lindsey Vonn recently told her 35,000-plus followers that she would not be posting Twitter updates because of Olympic blackout rules -- then came back a day later and said she would.
"Contrary to what I was told it turns out that I am allowed to continue to tweet and facebook during the Olympics!!" she wrote on Facebook. "Yay!! I have to follow very specific rules though:( Did you guys really think you were going to get rid of me that easily?! I'm back baby!"
But when news of her injured shin broke -- an update that could not only impact her, but the entire tenor of the Olympics -- there was no mention of it on her Twitter feed. Instead, Vonn revealed the news in an interview with NBC, which bankrolls the Olympic movement to the tune of $2 billion over four years.
While Vonn graces the cover of Sports Illustrated and has sponsors aplenty, athletes such as Jeret "Speedy" Peterson are always looking for ways to get the word out. Peterson, the aerials skier whose trademark "Hurricane" jump could give him his 15 minutes of fame come Feb. 22, is at 2,000 fans and climbing on Facebook -- and knows the Olympics could be his last, best chance to augment the fan base.
"It's free, it's instantaneous and it's real," he said. "It's my message and it's not filtered. That kind of convenience is a huge thing for people."
Convenient as it can be, a surprising number of athletes said they wanted to enjoy the experience without laptops and cell phones getting in the way.
"I want to give my country respect and be involved in the moment and soak it up as much as I can," said snowboardcross rider Lindsey Jacobellis.
Many athletes insist that, once the games start, their actual performance -- not updating people about their performance -- must come first. But that doesn't mean they won't have anything to say.
"It's like an instantaneous thought of what you are doing on the move, usually from your cell phone, so it's a very kind of short, pure, raw view of what people are up to," said U.S. Nordic combined skier Billy Demong, who recently bought a helmet-cam so he could post video of his training.
By doing whatever they have time for, it's almost a sure thing that more information will be available in more formats. Heck, even the IOC Web site has links to Twitter and Facebook.
What has yet to be seen is whether the information will spark something transformative -- think sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith raising their fists on the podium in the pre-cell-phone days of 1968 -- or wind up only as more noise in the machine.
"I guess they have the opportunity to express their feelings and emotions on the computer," Carlos said. "That in itself would be a statement made. But my thing was very clear. I don't know if they could express the statement we made in Mexico on the computer."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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