October 25, 2017


The IOC has published its updated Rule 40.3 guidance for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 at  As established by the IOC, the Rule 40 period for the PyeongChang Games is February 1-28, 2018.

The IPC has published its IPC Athlete and Participants’ Image Policy for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games at As established by the IPC, the applicable period for the Paralympic Winter Games is March 3-21, 2018.

In summary, the guidance is intended to:

  • Enable continuation of in-market generic advertising featuring PyeongChang Games participants during the Rule 40 period, thereby eliminating a significant source of athlete dissatisfaction and disruption to athlete sponsors.
  • Protect exclusive Olympic and Paralympic sponsor rights to use Olympic and Paralympic intellectual property (“IP”).
  • Ensure that all stakeholders understand that each National Olympic Committee (“NOC”) and National Paralympic Committee ("IPC) will be responsible for Rule 40.3 guidance and enforcement within its own territory. 

Each of the IOC’s and IPC’s guidance follows the model created for Rio 2016.

As such, the USOC’s Rule 40.3 guidance for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 for the U.S. territory aligns with the principles set forth in the IOC 2018 guidance and the principles set forth in our USOC guidance for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. And, the USOC’s IPC Image Policy guidance for the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 for the U.S. territory aligns with the principles set forth in the IPC 2018 guidance and the principles set forth in our USOC guidance for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

The USOC process is designed to fairly and consistently institute an equitable waiver process to benefit athletes and protect Olympic and Paralympic sponsors’ rights. This process allows for: 

  • The fact that PyeongChang Games participants qualify for nomination to the U.S. Olympic Team/U.S. Paralympic Team at various points leading up to the official Rule 40 period. All potential participants will be able to apply for a Rule 40 waiver.
  • Balanced athlete biographical references in advertising that follow the USOC’s longstanding athlete endorsement policy.
  • Additional lead time for advertising materials to be submitted to the USOC, both by Olympic/Paralympic sponsors and by non-Olympic/Paralympic commercial partners, so that such materials can be reviewed by the USOC in a timely matter. 

Key Provisions of the USOC Rule 40.3/IPC Image Policy Guidance:

  • To qualify as “generic advertising” non-Olympic partners must comply with the following rules.

-No direct or indirect association with PyeongChang Games, Olympic IP, Paralympic IP or terms generally associated with the Olympic Games/Paralympic Games.

-Initial campaign submissions (which may be in conceptual form) must be submitted to the USOC website by August 1, 2017, for the Olympic Games and November 15, 2017, for the Paralympic Games, to ensure the USOC has time to review and respond, manage resubmissions and allow for advertiser production schedules.”

-Initial submissions need not include all proposed tactics; however, each and every final tactic will require a Rule 40 waiver.

-Submissions must include a media schedule demonstrating that the campaign will be in market and run continuously starting no later than October 1, 2017, for the Olympic Games or by December 15, 2017, for the Paralympic Games.

-For campaigns featuring a non-U.S. participant, the participant’s NOC/NPC must also approve the athlete use.

-Should a U.S. participant wish to appear in any advertising outside of the U.S., the USOC will provide approval to the relevant NOC(s)/NPC(s). 

  • The Rule 40 waiver process will be managed online and include an archive system to enable the USOC to manage the volume of approvals needed in a timely manner.
  • The IOC will launch a global monitoring process for all athletes worldwide to track advertising activity. Note: this is not an approval process as only the USOC can grant the Rule 40 waivers for our territory. 

As with the leadup to the Rio Games, the USOC will conduct a comprehensive stakeholder education process to ensure that we appropriately inform all athletes, NGBs, agents, and advertisers of the USOC’s Rule 40.3/IPC Image Policy guidance.

Any questions related to Rule 40.3 and/or the IPC Image Policy should be directed to:   

IOC Rule 40 Guidance (.pdf)

IPC Athlete and Participants' Image Policy (.pdf)