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Before you start tweeting about the 2016 Olympics, read this!

July 31, 2016

Dee Dee Trotter 2012 Olympics
Dee Dee Trotter 2012 Olympics via Wikipedia

The Olympics are almost here, and there are specific rules about the use of relevant content on social media platforms. The Olympic rings, brand name, images of participants taken during the games in combination of a company brand, references to an athlete’s performance or participation are strictly controlled between July 27 and August 24, Even the athletes themselves must be extremely careful about what they say in the media and on social media.
Note that SOME athletes can appear in their sponsors’ marketing during the Games if they are granted special dispensation.

Some of the rest of the athletes are already making news with tweets like this one from Britain’s Jade Lally

There is an extensive list of “Olympic listed terms or expressions” that you must be wary of if you are not an official sponsor of the games

SO. Before you ruin your favorite athlete’s experience and possibly their awards when sharing for your brand, please download the PDF of the rule 40 Guidelines and familiarize yourself with them!

According to the IOC, “Olympic-related terms” include the following, depending upon context:

  • 2016
  • Rio/Rio de Janeiro
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze
  • Medal
  • Performance
  • Challenge
  • Summer Games
  • Sponsors
  • Victory
  • Olympian
  • Olympic
  • Olympics
  • Olympic
  • Games
  • Olympiad
  • Olympiads

Crazy right? The days of all of the athletes being amateurs is long gone, so this seems a little excessive, though of course we have to understand the value of the brand name too. Bottom line, just think before you share on social so you don’t set yourself up for a lawsuit or mess up an athlete’s career!

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  1. David, it appears that any participating athlete or someone local supporting an athlete with even a minor sponsorship like help getting to the games, supplying gear etc at home could run up against the rules as set by simply cheering them on on social media and mentioning the above words. It’s not just big corporate sponsors. Of course, I’m not a lawyer either, so do your due diligence before you mess up someone’s Olympic dreams.

  2. Hmm, since you’re not a lawyer and I’m not a lawyer, maybe we should just refer to the rules eh?
    My take on this is that if you are a small business supporting a local athlete and you gave them a t-shirt that could be represented as “sponsorship” and you are covered by these rules.
    Also the athletes themselves are not permitted to post about the event, as see in the Tweet shared in my post. Yours truly the author in question.

  3. The author of this articles doesn’t draw an clear distinction between “company” and social posts by just your average person. The article is really about company branding, not social commenting. It’s a rather miss-leading headline.

    In brief i read it as saying, a company, corporation or brand can not do advertising or branding that somehow falsely creates a connection with the IOC or the Olympics or the participants.

    So if your not a company or corporation or doing branding, you should be okay to post and comment and say what you wish to say.

    Disclaimer –> This is not legal advice, do your own due diligence.

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