Not a word on your sponsors, athletes told
This is Xiaoxiang Dai of China celebrating his bronze medal win in men's individual archery. Why the yellow tape on his hat? According to Brand Channel, which has been watching the sponsorship war at the London Games, it's because black stitching on his black cap said "Chicago Bears." And the Bears aren't an official sponsor at the Games.
Athletes, particularly U.S. track and field competitors, are rising up against what they consider the draconian International Olympic Committee rules to gag mention of anything not sanctioned. A petition at Change.org has a few hundred signatures. American stars such as Nick Symmonds and Sanya Richards-Ross are coordinating a Twitter campaign with the hashtags #Rule40 and #wedemandchange to protest being forbidden from mentioning their sponsors. Symmonds has had to cover a shoulder tattoo for sponsors Milwaukee ad agency Hanson Dodge Creative.
"They've paid for my bills, my travel, my coaching, put food on my table," said of his sponsors which include non-official running shoe Nike. "I can't give them any return on their investment."
"We must be free to tweet," American gold medallist Richards-Ross said at the news conference after her win.
U.K. athletes have been told to stop wearing Beats headphones before competition because they're not official sponsors, the Associated Press reports.