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updated: 11/17/2010 8:22 AM

Chinese gymnasts spark ambush marketing inquiry

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  • Gold medalist China's Teng Haibin, left, explains to bronze medalist Japan's Hisashi Mizutori the hand gesture he made during the medal ceremony.

      Gold medalist China's Teng Haibin, left, explains to bronze medalist Japan's Hisashi Mizutori the hand gesture he made during the medal ceremony.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

GUANGZHOU, China -- The Olympic Council of Asia has launched an investigation into possible ambush marketing after Chinese gymnasts repeatedly made hand gestures that were apparently meant to mimic their sponsor logo.

The gymnasts have a deal with Li Ning, a Chinese brand created by the former gymnast of the same name. She is best known internationally for lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Several gymnasts put a hand on their chest with thumbs up and fingers pointed like a gun during competition and medals ceremonies this week. Men's individual all-around gold medalist Teng Haibin said the gesture looks like Li Ning's "L'' shaped logo and that flashing the sign was required as part of his team's sponsorship deal.

Li Ning is not an official Asian Games sponsor.

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