Elaine Thompson-Herah blocked on Instagram over TV rights

Not even the fastest woman in the world can outrun Tokyo 2020 Olympics broadcast rights holders, with gold medalist sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah saying she had been blocked on Instagram for posting videos of her victorious 100 and 200 meters races.

The Jamaican sprinter defended her Olympic titles from the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics over the two distances in Tokyo, making it four Olympic gold medals from two Games.

But her attempt to share her Tokyo competitions with her 310,000 followers on Instagram backfired.

“I was blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympic (sic) because I did not own the right to do so. So see y’all in 2 days,” the sprinter wrote on Twitter.


But all that didn’t stop Instagram from taking it easy on her for copyright infringement. Thompson-Herah shared videos of her competitions with her 310,000 followers. Her story was stacked with shots from friends and family of the TV airing her race alongside congratulatory notes to her. 

About seven hours after posting on Twitter of her ban, she wrote on her Instagram story, “my block is cleared” with smiling emojis. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) owns the Olympics and associated intellectual property, not individual athletes, and has strict rules on how it’s used. Instagram does not allow users to post content violating someone else’s intellectual property rights, and has eyes out for the big violations like during the Olympics. Athletes have had more success showing glimpses of life behind the scenes rather than footage of the actual events themselves.