No, The Olympics And Samsung Are Not Banning IPhones During The Opening Ceremony

*at least according to the International Olympic Committee and Samsung.

No, The Olympics And Samsung Are Not Banning IPhones During The Opening Ceremony
[Image: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns]

A rumor swirling yesterday suggested that Olympic sponsor Samsung was clamping down on Apple’s presence in Sochi. Specifically, the company was reportedly asking athletes to cover up the Apple logos on their iPhones during the Opening Ceremony, effectively banning competitive products so that Samsung could push its Galaxy Note 3. The reports apparently can be traced back to Swiss site Bluewin, which you’ll have to translate into English.


The move wouldn’t be entirely unprecedented! Apple and Samsung have something of an ugly history imposing restrictions on each other, and the Opening Ceremony telecast is fertile marketing ground.

One small problem, though: Both Samsung and the Olympic press office claim the reports aren’t true. Here’s what a Samsung representative told Fast Company in an email:

Samsung has not been involved in any decisions related to branding on products used by athletes to the Games. All commercial marketing around the Games is overseen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Hmmm. Okay. The IOC’s press office said the following about the alleged iPhone ban:

Thank you for your email. No it is not true. Athletes can use any device they wish during the Opening Ceremony. The normal rules apply just as per previous Games.

Make of that what you will, athletes. If you’re already in Sochi, feel free to selfie away on whatever device you please.

About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.