I had decided before the Olympics that I wasn’t going to write too much about the Olympic sponsors, beyond highlighting the accusations of Adidas using sweatshop labour, and the difficulties faced by athletes with regard to Rule 40. My decision was based on the fact that this is a subject that has been covered extensively elsewhere. I didn’t feel there was anything I could add. Besides, I would much rather focus on the achievements of the athletes.
That was until I got an email from Heather Farr, an intern at GolinHarris, who are the PR agency for Dow Chemical Company, one of the Olympic sponsors. They also do PR work for McDonalds, so they must be good at what they do. Ms Farr was very helpful and suggested that I consider:
“What role does science play in track and field competitions?”
I apprecate the suggestion, but I’m not going to write about the subject, because as a non-expert I feel unable to do it justice, and I’m unsure how well it would fit with Ethical Athlete‘s existing articles. However, as GolinHarris, on behalf of Dow, were so kind as to write to me personally, I will take the opportunity to mention the positive effect that the work of Dow has had on the Olympics, as highlighted in their email to me.
After all, it is sometimes hard to see the positive through all the negative press surrounding Dow.
Again, I am not going to go into detail here, as it has been covered plenty of times before. But just in case you are not familiar with Dow, they have attracted criticism for the following (for which further reading can be found in the references section below):
- Manufacturing explosives and tear gas during the Second World War.
- Managing the Rocky Flats Plant nuclear weapons facility between 1951 and 1975, investigated for being unsafe.
- Manufacturing napalm during the Vietnam War.
- Manufacturing Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
- Manufacturing DBCP, an agricultural chemical that was found to cause male sterility.
- Manufacturing breast implants that were the subject of numerous law suits over their safety.
- Manufacturing Chlorpyrifos, a garden pesticide that is a nerve toxin and suspected endocrine disruptor.
- Elevated levels of dioxins in the Tittabawassee River, near one of Dow’s manufacturing facilities.
- Also, the Bhopal disaster, one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes, occurred at a facility owned by Union Carbide, another chemical manufacturing company. It should be stressed that Dow had nothing to do with the disaster at the time, but they do now own the Bhopal plant, and are under pressure to provide compensation to those affected by the disaster.
Given the above, it is understandable that Dow would want to draw attention to all the good work they have done, such as that for the Olympics. This includes:
- Bouncy running tracks.
- A textile wrap around the Olympic Stadium.
- Artificial grass. In pink.
- Nice floors.
- Wires and cables.
- And plenty of other stuff.
Be sure to click on the links and have a look. Pretty impressive stuff and I am sure that the likes of Usain Bolt will be very pleased with the state of the track.
I would like to thank GolinHarris for taking the time to suggest a potential article for me. Without their interest in what I write, I might never have been inspired to write about Dow, and their involvement in the Olympics. It is most encouraging to know that this little website has caught the eye of such big companies.
I must be doing something right.