The Summer Trademark Olympics (Please Don't Sue Us)

Whether the Olympics are around the corner (as they are now) or a few years away, there are always Olympic-themed events going on. Recently, a group called Ravelry sponsored a knitting competition called the “Ravelympics.” [Related post on Ravelry: "Is There an Elitist Oligarchy in the Underworld of Knitters?"] Whereas most people probably imagined a bunch of grandmothers knitting mufflers, the U.S. Olympic Committee saw a conspiracy to infringe its trademark in the word “Olympics.”

After enduring a lot of criticism, the USOC backed off the knitters. But what the USOC tried to do isn’t unusual.

In fact, just recently luxury goods purveyor Louis Vuitton threatened to sue Penn law school over a poster for an academic conference on the law of fashion that featured an artist’s funny take on the Louis Vuitton logo (with the famous “LV” replaced with a “TM”). Louis Vuitton didn’t see the joke, and threatened the law school (which, being a law school, knew enough not to be scared).

Kids, Don't Try This at Home — Olympic Edition

Am in London for work and, as always, delight in reading the newspapers here. From today's Telegraph, my favorite article:

Accident and emergency departments have seen a 15 per cent rise in sports injuries as an unfortunate side effect of Olympic fever, figures show. Young men and boys are the most likely to be treated and peak times are Saturday afternoons and lunchtime Sundays. The figures indicate more people may be taking up sport in the run up to the Euro 2012 football tournament and the London Olympics. However more are ending up needing emergency treatment after knocks, cuts, sprains and strains, broken bones and head injuries, officials NHS figures show.

Who Will Win the Most Medals in the 2012 Summer Olympics?

Dan Johnson, an economist at Colorado College, has been predicting Olympic medal counts for years with a model that uses metrics like population count, income per capita, and home-country advantage. In the past six Olympics, his model has a correlation of 93 percent between predictions and actual medal counts, and 85 percent for gold medals.

For the Games in London this summer, Johnson predicts that the U.S. Will be the top medal winner, followed by China, Russia, then Britain -- the same order they finished in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Olympian Economics: A New Marketplace Podcast

Our latest Freakonomics Radio on Marketplace podcast is called “Olympian Economics,” with Tess Vigeland sitting in for Kai Ryssdal this week.

(You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript below.)

With the 2012 Summer Olympic Games getting underway this week in London, we ask a simple question: do host cities really get the benefits their boosters promise, or are they just engaging in some fiscal gymnastics?

If you've read what we've posted in the past about the Olympics, you may already have a glimmer of a hint of a possibility of the answer to that question.

Want to Cut Air Pollution? Easy: Make the Olympics Permanent

A new working paper gives tangible evidence that the measures taken by Beijing to reduce air pollution during the 2008 Olympics worked, but that more than half the effect faded away by October 2009.

Should the U.S. Really Try to Host Another World Cup?

The economic impact of hosting major sporting events.


A splendid graph, showing high-frequency data on water consumption in Edmonton during the men's Olympic hockey final (on February 28), and comparing it with the rather smoother pattern seen the day before.

The Medal Count, by Market Value

Cybermetrics calculated this year's Olympics champion, by market value of the medals - Canada takes first place with a total haul of $9,635.

Is Home-Country Bias Inevitable for Figure-Skating Judges?

In response to allegations of vote-trading and home-country bias among figure-skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake, the International Skating Union changed judging procedures. But have those reforms been effective?

Losing the Gold

For most Olympics viewers, winning a silver medal at the Games would seem pretty impressive. For the silver medalists themselves, however, their feat can be disappointing.