- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 19, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia At these games, it's Coke, no Pepsi.
Olympic officials have added the popular soda to the list of "dangerous" items banned from the main Olympic Park venue at the Sydney Games.
Security guards ask fans attending events if they are carrying "knives, weapons or cans of Pepsi" in an attempt to appease one of the Olympics' official sponsors, Coca-Cola. Those who refuse to surrender their cans or bottles of Pepsi are denied entry.
"Non-game sponsor products are not allowed. That's why sponsors pay huge amounts of money. Coca-Cola is the official sponsor, and only their drinks are allowed," a spokesman for the organizing committee said.
The policy is part of a crackdown on nonofficial products at the Games that has resulted in everything from new legislation and corporate feuds to hidden logos and censored menus.
Olympic officials are attempting to preserve the exclusivity of corporations that, according to estimates, have paid about $1.5 billion to become official sponsors of the Games.
Olympic officials have been scouring venues to ensure that only products of official sponsors are visible. For example, logos on computers and televisions that are not IBM or Panasonic, respectively, are covered with black tape.
A food dish is not safe from the clampdown if it bears even a slight resemblance to an item on the menu of an official sponsor.
A cafe inside the Olympic complex was told to remove a bacon and egg roll, known locally as a "damper," from its menu because it looked like the Egg McMuffin sold by McDonald's, another official sponsor.
Visitors to the Olympic complex are prevented from entering with alcohol, although it is on sale inside. The choice is limited. Only one company holds the right to sell beer, and another holds the right to sell the only brand of wine.
There also is a limit on the amount of food visitors can take inside. A spokesman for the organizing committee said, "People are allowed to bring reasonable quantities of food, but there are dozens of restaurants in the complex where they can eat."
The Sydney Olympics sparked a fierce brand war off the track as non-sponsors try to attach themselves to the Games in a strategy known as "ambush marketing."
The strategy has produced a number of legal disputes between rival companies in Australia.
Carlton and United, the official beer supplier, plans to sue rival Lion Nathan, claiming that Lion Nathan uses Olympic imagery in its advertising.
Ansett, the New Zealand firm that paid to become the airline of the Games, accused rival Qantas of using the Olympics in its advertising. The row led to a legal challenge that was settled out of court.
The International Olympic Committee was criticized by sponsor companies after the 1996 Atlanta Games after non-sponsors put up advertising around the city and used Olympic imagery.
Sydney introduced special laws to prevent non-sponsor companies from using advertising outside Olympic venues.
Australian authorities have the right to remove them and take legal action against companies using the words "Sydney 2000" or the Olympic rings.

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