COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be able to thank personal sponsors, appear in advertisements for those sponsors and receive congratulatory messages from them during next year's Tokyo Games under guidance released Tuesday by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
The loosening of marketing rules gives athletes more freedom to benefit from sponsors they deal with directly, rather than limiting advertising to official partner companies of the USOPC, International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee.
Official partners will maintain exclusive use of Team USA and Olympic Games logos and imagery, but athletes' personal sponsors will be permitted to run generic ads.
The guidance relates to Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter, which restricts the use of athletes' names and images for advertising purposes.
"We worked to create a guidance that increases athlete marketing opportunities and, importantly, respects Rule 40 and affirms our commitment to providing value to our partners, and maintains funding and participation pathways for Team USA, and athletes around the world," USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement.
A German federal agency ruled this summer that the IOC was subject to existing competition laws, paving the way for national Olympic committees to relax sponsorship rules.
The USOPC said its changes were "a product of a collaborative process that invited feedback and discussion" from athletes and the governing bodies of their sports, among others.