POSTED: September 24th 2012

Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and more join athletes looking to overthrow advert rule

Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt of Jamaica have joined the group / TFAA photo
Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt of Jamaica have joined the group / TFAA photo

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

September 24 – Latest in the rising revolt by a number of US track and field athletes is that the Associated Press reports that they now can count Jamaican champion sprinter Usain Bolt in their group to start an athletes’ union to overthrow the Olympics advert rule.

Athletes have taken case with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Rule 40 that prohibits the athletes from advertising during the Games and in the days leading up to the Olympics in an effort  to protect their own advertising agreements.

The Rule 40 states: “Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.”

Last Friday the Track and Field Athletes Association (TFAA) of America announced that a group of athletes opposing this rule are forming a union to lobby the IOC and already the movement has gone viral on Twitter under the hashtag #WeDemandChange.

The movement also includes other high level names such as Sanya Richards-Ross, Yohan Blake, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Bernard Lagat. The list of new members is here:

Richards-Ross talked to “"The whole (#WeDemandChange) Twitter rants has been an internal discussion we've had for years.

"A lot of athletes in our sport are severely underpaid, hold two or three jobs just to train and stay in the sport, and what pushed me over the edge to get on board and mobilize was just seeing how much money was generated from the Olympic Games.

"I do relatively well with great sponsors, but for the majority of my peers, that's not the reality and it's disheartening."

TFAA President Khadevis Robinson said on their website, “We recognized that the challenges faced by track and field athletes are not limited to Team USA.  In order to grow our sport, we must establish a unified voice across the international community of athletes.”

Keywords · Usain Bolt · Yohan Blake · IOC · Rule 40 · advertising

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