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SBD/February 21, 2014/Olympics
A Ringing Endorsement? USOC Considering Relaxing Its Enforcement Of Rule 40
Published February 21, 2014
MAJOR CHANGE IN USOC'S STANCE: This new position is a major change from the one the USOC held for the better part of the last three decades. Historically, it touted Rule 40 so much that athletes even scrub sponsors from their websites before the Olympics begin. U.S. sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross and a number of other athletes attacked Rule 40 on Twitter and at a press conference before the '12 London Games. The athletes' position was that the sponsors who support them year-round should be able to support them when they are competing in their most high-profile event, even if those sponsors are not official Olympic partners. The IOC and USOC have been talking about changing Rule 40 in some way ever since then. However, doing so will not be easy. "The challenge here is it's so subjective," Blackmun said. "If you look at an ad that doesn't use Olympic marks but clearly is Olympic ambush, that's not right and we want to protect our sponsors. But if an athlete has a long-term relationship with a company and they want to continue that and not put it on hold, that's something we need to have a conversation about."