“WE DEMAND CHANGE,” Says the London 2012 Olympians on Twitter.

There’s been a huge protest on Twitter made by the London 2012 Olympians recently.  The athletes are frustrated and have been grouching about this new rule implemented by the Olympic and Paralympic Games Limited (LOCOG) and the British Olympic Association (BOA) called “Rule 40”.

Rule 40 of the Olympic charter forbids athletes from appearing in adverts or endorsing their individual sponsors or companies and products that are not official sponsors of the Game during and just before their 17-day run.

The athletes don’t like this rule and have been using Twitter to protest against it. The protest started on the 29th of July, when members of the US track and field team including Olympic 100m hurdles champion Dawn Harper called for the restrictions to be relaxed.

“I am proud to be an Olympian but #wedemandchange #rule 40,” Harper tweeted, along with a picture of a group of U.S. teamates in a meeting room. Others including Olympic track and field World Champion Sanya Ross-Richards, also echoed the message and urged officials to reconsider Rule 40.


Several German athletes also got on board as did US 1500m runner Leo Manzano after being told to remove a photograph of his footwear from his Facebook site.

This is what he posted on his Facebook page: “I am very disappointed in Rule 40 of the USOC(US Olympic Comittee) as I just had to take down my picture of my shoes and comments about their performance. This rule is very distracting to us athletes, and it takes away from our Olympic experience and training. #WeNeedChange Track & Field Athletes Assocaition Austin Track Club.”

American middle distance runner Nick Symmonds also tweeted: “#Rule40 can kiss my temporarily tattooed butt. I wouldn’t be in London today without my sponsors!”

Canadian sports marketing expert Cary Kaplan agrees with the protesting athletes, saying the Olympics are overstepping their bounds, they don’t own the time period nor the two weeks, they own the event.

However Richard Powers, University of Toronto sports marketing expert, says athletes must not complain about the short promotional interruption. Everyone has to understand that the money that is gained from the Olympic advertising contracts includes some exclusivity provisions.

Obviously people have different feelings and opinions about this issue but thus far Rule 40 stands. What are your thoughts?

About the Author: Japie Swanepoel