Star sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah was temporarily blocked on Instagram Tuesday after clips from her gold medal-winning races at the Tokyo Olympics were taken down due to strict broadcasting rights owned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Thompson-Herah, who won both the women's 100-meter and 200-meter races, tweeted Tuesday afternoon that she was “blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympic because I did not own the right to do so.”
“So see y’all in 2 days,” she added.
I was blocked on Instagram for posting the races of the Olympic because I did not own the right to do so. So see y’all in 2 days— Elaine Thompson Herah (@FastElaine) August 3, 2021
However, about seven hours later, the Jamaican runner posted on her Instagram story "my block is cleared,” along with smiling emojis.
The IOC told Reuters that the removal of the videos was part of an automatic process.
“Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) have the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympic Games,” it said.
"This includes distribution on social media, where athletes are invited to share the content provided by the RHBs on their accounts but cannot post competition content natively,” the IOC added. "Should that occur, the removal of such content from social media platforms happens automatically."
However, a spokesperson for Facebook, Instagram's parent company, told The Hill that the platform's move to temporarily block Thompson-Herah from posting on her account was an error, noting that it eventually reinstated access.
The IOC has sold the U.S. broadcasting rights to NBC for the Summer Olympic Games since 1988 and for the Winter Olympics since 2002.
According to Reuters, the IOC is set to receive more than $4 billion in broadcasting rights for the period, including the Tokyo Games, though the IOC said that much of this money goes back to the athletes.
"The income from the sales of the broadcasting rights is an important element in the financing of the Olympic movement and helps building the Olympic stage on which athletes can shine," the committee said.
Thompson-Herah’s wins mark a repeat “double-double” for the track star, who won the gold medals in both races at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
She led Jamaica, which took home all three medals in the 100-meter women’s track final, and finished the race in 10.61 seconds, making her the fastest woman alive with a time falling only behind the world record set by the late Florence Griffith Joyner, who completed the race in 1988 in 10.49 seconds.