Actually was glad they stopped the "flag as blanket deal." You are not supposed to use the American Flag as a blanket. NYC started that, and it was really obnoxious. I am all for waving the flag and being patriotic. In fact, I love it. There is proper treatment of the American flag, however, and having it as your towel when you finish is not it. I do not know the rules of flag treatment in other countries, but the default treatment should be to treat their nations flag with the same dignity and respect as is required of our flag.
The corporate sponsorship deal is something else. All of you complaining that Nike owns everything need to realize that if you want other companies sponsoring some running events, they need some return on investment.
+1 The US flag is not a towel or article of clothing. It's not respectful to use it to dry yourself off or to wear it like a cape.
Also, it's one thing to get flags out in competitions between national teams like the Olympics or WCs but the NYCM, Boston Marathon, etc. are not international competitions and the winners don't have any business waiving their flags around or imitating the Olympics.
The John Hancock blancket stuff was pushy and commercial. Everything you could see already said John Hancock and BAA so it was also unnecessary. If it's cold, give the athletes a blanket if they need it but don't waive it around behind them as another billboard.