The remote-controlled mini Mini Cooper that shuttles javelins to athletes (PHOTOS)

Chris Chase
Fourth-Place Medal

This is awesome: It's a remote-controlled mini Mini Cooper that shuttles track and field equipment like javelins, discuses and hammers back to the takeoff area after they're thrown by competitors.

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For example: A discus thrower hurls the object 65 meters across the infield. Once the throw is measured, an official loads the discus into the top of the specially designed car and it's driven back to the starting area by a team of trained volunteers operating the vehicle remotely.

There are three Minis in the Olympic fleet. They run in four-hour shifts and travel up to four miles per day. The cars hold a single discus, hammer or shot. Two javelins can also fit.

There's been a light controversy over the cars. Critics -- yes, critics of cool javelin-delivering remote-controlled vehicles -- say that the mini Minis violate the IOC's ban on advertising. The high-minded IOC doesn't allow corporate branding on the field of play, you see. There's no McDonald's logo on those purple Olympic banners that encompass each venue nor a Heineken sign on the sign board at half-court in the basketball venue. The Olympics are pure sport!

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So even though the mini Minis don't have a logo, some say it's a blatant advertisement for BMW, the manufacturer of the cars. Everyone knows what a Mini looks like, after all. I see the IOC's point. Corporate branding has no place during competition. That's not what the Olympics are all about. I mean, can you imagine how uncivilized it would be if you saw adidas logos on volleyball uniforms or a runner with Nike swooshes on her shoes, jersey, shorts, wristband and socks?

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