Not only has NBC been stealthily operating a Starbucks in the Olympics media center, they've been taunting all the other journalists who are forced to drink the only branded coffee available — McDonalds' McCafe.

According to the Wall Street Journal, NBC found a loophole to the draconian non-Olympics-brand exclusion by treating the Starbucks as a personal item not open to the public. And although John Fritsche, NBC's senior vice president of Olympic operations said they share with "neighboring broadcasters," reporters from NPR and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review have been unable to get their hands on the bland Starbucks nectar.

The NPR reporter spotted the green mermaid on a cup and started following the holder only to be rebuffed. Pittsburgh sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic, coming off a "three-venti-iced-chai latte" a day habit, found himself reduced to substituting with eight cups of McDonalds.

At one point, Mr. Kovacevic had a connection who could hook him up with Starbucks drinks. But that friend is now working on the other side of the Olympic Park, leaving Mr. Kovacevic to walk around with an empty green and white cup. He pours vending machine coffee into it.

And although the cups are everywhere — even duct-taped in front of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir — it seems unlikely Olympics organizers will shut the illicit Starbucks down. NBC paid more than $775 million to broadcast the games, and Coca-Cola — which holds the beverage rights — and McDonalds, holder of coffee rights, are "aware," but not concerned.

[image via AP]