When I got back to the office today from my trip to Brazil, there was a form on my desk with the words "get stickers,” scrawled across it. It was from my boss.
Apparently - as is usually the case, as was the case in Rio - in order to report on the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, next month, I need to get a sticker for my equipment. That's fine. The only thing is the deadline for applying for radio frequencies was JANUARY of this year. That doesn't really have anything to do with the job I do, because I don't plan on broadcasting anything live. I was planning on being in the mixed zone where the athletes come off the track, record a few quotes, write the story and feed it back to Washington. It's a basic report.
But the Olympic-type guys have figured out that they can make money by making everyone have a sticker on their stuff or they won't be allowed to take it into the stadium. Which means I could fly clear across the world, go to the stadium get in, but would have to leave my equipment back at my hotel room.
I likened it to being invited to the picnic, but not being allowed to eat. But I e-mailed the Osaka 2007 people because what they are restricting is not what we want to do. We just want to be able to get some quotes from the athletes, and insert them in reports. I hope they understand that.
The last one of these that I covered was in 2001, just a month before 9-11. I haven't been to one since - there was one if Paris in 2003 and one in Helsinki, Finland in 2005. But the sense I get from talking to people is that the Japanese are sticklers for abiding by the rules, and it even says that unauthorized equipment and the accreditation of the user will be "confiscated."
I checked their website, and the last deadline for applying for radio frequency - everything from a wireless laptop to a cell phone - was June 4th. There aren't any more. But since that doesn't really have anything to do with what I am doing, maybe there is another set of rules by which to abide. We'll see. Otherwise, its a long trip for nothing. I hope that isn't the case. This is the trip I wanted to take. Brazil was the one I had to take.