2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games


Information for athletes on the IOC/IPC Rules and Regulations specific to the PyeongChang Olympics/Paralympics


The IOC, IPC and the USOC have published various rules, policies, and guidelines that are applicable to the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, and to all participants at the Games. These include guidelines about advertising restrictions, manufacturer identifications and placement limitations, social media usage, prohibitions of the manipulation of competitions, anti-doping rules, and conduct expectations. It is imperative that athletes are astutely familiar with the restrictions that could potentially jeopardize your eligibility and right to compete in the Games.

The Athlete Ombudsman Office has tried to pull together relevant documents to be used for your reference. Some sections apply to both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, while other sections are only applicable to one or the other (e.g. Classification only applies to Paralympics).  The summary information should be used merely to trigger you to go to the actual policy, guideline or governing document. It should not be used as all-inclusive coverage of the rule or policy. Please refer to the full document (linked), or contact the Athlete Ombudsman if you have questions.

Get Ready for PyeongChang Pack

The IOC has published the Get Ready for PyeongChang 2018 Pack which includes information pertaining to a general view of PyeongChang and Gangneung, material about the Olympic Villages and its facilities, a description of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Election, some pointers for sharing your experience on Social Media during the Games, a reminder of Rule 40 and Rule 50, as well as information on Anti-Doping and athlete protection. The Pack has been designed to be as comprehensive as possible so that you can focus on your Games and enjoy your experience. Reading through  will serve as a useful guide and help minimize distractions leading into the Games!

Although the IPC has not published a similar document, Paralympic athletes can still use this as a reference, in particular to the general Korea Games information. 


Bye-Law 3 to Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter (commonly known as “Rule 40”) and Section 2.1 of the Paralympics Chapter of the IPC Handbook (IPC Rule 2.1) prohibits all participants in the Games from using their image, name, picture, or sports performances for advertising purposes during the Period of the Games, unless they obtain a waiver to this rule. The Period of the Games begins on the date of the opening of the Village until 3 days after the Closing Ceremony. For the PyeongChang Olympics, this is: February 1, 2018 – February 28, 2018. For the PyeongChang Paralympics, this is:March 3, 2018 – March 21, 2018. Athletes should read in detail the IOC PyeongChang 2018 Rule 40 Guidelines or the IPC Athlete Image Policy that provide the framework for acceptable and non-acceptable usage of advertising during the Games.

Waivers allow athletes/participants to engage in limited advertising during the Games, subject to strict restrictions. To obtain a waiver, athletes/participants must submit an application to the USOC (if the ad is run in the US). For more information on the waiver process and advertising rules and restrictions, read the 2018 USOC Athlete Advertising Waiver System User Guideand the USOC Athlete Endorsement Guidelinesand visit http://www.teamusa.org/Athlete-Resources/Athlete-Marketing/Rule-40-Guidance. Any questions related to advertising at the Games should be directed to: athleteadreview@usoc.org

Manufacturer Logos

Bye-Law 1 to Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter (commonly known as “Rule 50”) and Section 2.6 of the Paralympic Chapter of the IPC Handbook (IPC Rule 2.6) prohibit commercial markings on any article of clothing or equipment worn or used by the athletes or other participants in the Olympic/Paralympic Games, except for the identification of the manufacturer of the article or equipment concerned, provided that such identification shall not be marked conspicuously for advertising purposes. The IOC Guidelines Regarding Authorized Identifications for PyeongChang and the IPC Manufacturer Guidelines for PyeongChang outline at what point identifications may be marked for advertising purposes (prohibited), which types of identifications are allowed, where such identifications can be placed, and how many times the identifications may appear. The Guidelines further include specifics particular to each sport on the Olympic/Paralympic program.

Personal Performance Gear

Pursuant to the Olympic Charter, the USOC has the “sole and exclusive authority to prescribe and determine the clothing and uniforms to be worn, and the equipment to be used” during the Olympic Games, including during competition and during ceremonies. However, this authority does not extend to specialized equipment used by athletes in competition.

The Olympic Charter defines specialized equipment as having a material effect on the performance of athletes, due to the specialized characteristics of the equipment. An athlete has the right to select his or her specialized equipment for use at the Olympic Games and other protected competitions as defined in Section 1.3(w) of the USOC Bylaws. For each sport included on the Olympic or Pan American program, the USOC, after input from the NGB and respective AAC rep, has designated the items on the Personal Performance Gear List (Olympic Winter Sports or Paralympic Winter Sports) as specialized equipment.


In order to reduce Games-time classification issues, the IPC Qualification Guide for PyeongChang sets forth that only qualified athletes that meet the sport-specific classification rules and have a designated classification status (as defined for each sport) will be eligible for entry in the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. It is the responsibility of each sport to ensure that its athletes are appropriately classified in their respective sports prior to entry and that each athlete holds a sport class status that complies with the sport’s eligibility requirements as published in this guide. 

Because there are extremely limited options for classification evaluations/protests at the Games, NGBs/HPMOs/PSOs should verify their IF master list to make sure athletes’ classification information is up to date and correct and in accordance with the IPC Athlete Classification Code


Rule 41 of the Olympic Charter and the IPC Athlete Nationality Policy require that competitors in the Olympic/Paralympic Games be a national of the country they represent.

However, if a competitor changes nationalities or acquires a new nationality, he/she may only participate in the Olympic/Paralympic Games to represent the new country provided that 3 years have passed since the competitor last represented his/her former country. This 3-year gap period may be reduced only upon the agreement of the NOCs and IF concerned, and by the IOC Executive Board/IPC.

NGBs MUST submit appropriate documentation to the IOC, via Carolina Bayon with USOC International Relations carolina.bayon@usoc.org, even if the athlete has been competing for the US under an IF waiver.

Social Media Guidelines

The IOC Social and Digital Media Guidelines for PyeongChang and IPC Digital Media Guidelines for PyeongChang allow accredited participants to share their experience at the Games through internet or any other type of social and digital media, provided that it respects Olympic values and is done in first-person, diary-type format reflecting your own personal Games experience and not as a journalist or reporter, nor for the purposes of demonstration or any form of political, religious or racial propaganda.

Postings shall not be for commercial and/or advertising purposes or create an impression between a third party and the IOC/IPC, PyeongChang, the Olympic/Paralympic Games or the Olympic/Paralympic Movement, and in compliance with the IOC Rule 40 Guidelines and IPC Athlete and Participants’ Image Policy. Any association with sponsors must in the limited circumstance for which they already received a pre-approved waiver from the USOC for.  

Participants can take post or otherwise share on social and digital media still photographs with non-professional equipment taken within Olympic/Paralympic venues for personal use. Participants are allowed to capture audio or video of the events, competitions or any other activities which occur at Olympic/Paralympic venues for their personal use provided but may not be made available on social and digital media (e.g. by posting or streaming). Further, participants can post photos or videos within the Olympics/Paralympic Village but not in the Residential Zone (with the exception of the individuals private accommodation) and any picture or video of other persons must be obtained with permission. Lastly, participants may use the Olympic/Paralympic symbol on social and digital media only for personal Games related experiences and non-commercial uses.

These guidelines apply from the opening of the Village until the closing of the Village. For the Olympics, this is: February 1, 2018 – February 28, 2018. For the Paralympics, this is: March 3, 2018 – March 21, 2018.

For further clarification on the Olympic side, the IOC has created the IOC Social and Digital Media Guidelines “Frequently Asked Questions”.  

IOC Ethics Code

Preserving the integrity of sport and fair play is fundamental to the Olympic Movement. To uphold standards of dignity, the IOC Code of Ethics prohibits discrimination, harassment, doping, betting, and non-sporting conduct; and guarantees the safety and well-being of athletes. The Ethics Code expects all Olympic parties or representatives to act with integrity in fulfilling their mission. 

As part of the Code, the IOC has established the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions. In this, all NOCs must also declare their commitment to safeguard the integrity of sport and protect all competitions from the risk of manipulation. It prohibits betting, manipulation of sports competitions, corrupt conduct, using inside information for benefits, failing to report, or failing to cooperate with an investigation. Disciplinary procedures are in place for the enforcement of any alleged violations.

IPC Code of Ethics

Paralympic history and tradition are based on the principles of excellence in sport, opportunity to participate in fair competition, and enhancement of the dignity of athletes and sport. This necessitates acceptance of the fundamental values of honesty, human rights, fairness, justice, nondiscrimination and personal integrity.

The IPC Code of Ethics requires that members of the Paralympic Family adhere to ethical standards such as: safeguard the dignity of the sport; work for the benefit of the Paralympic movement; safeguard athletes’ interests and opportunity to participate; protect an athletes’ physical and mental health; comply with anti-doping rules; and conduct business with integrity in line with the Paralympic values. Further, it is prohibited to discriminate, harass, abuse another (mentally, physically or sexually), and engage in any betting related to the Paralympic Games, or IPC-sanctioned events.

Further, members of the Paralympic Family must refrain from conflicts of interest, improper use of assets, improper use of information, and obtaining gifts/gratuities/prizes that are not approved. Lastly, the Code of Ethics sets forth code of conducts particular to: athletes, classifiers, anti-doping officials, technical officials, appointed leaders or administrators, members on the IPC governing board/committees/councils, and candidates to election.

Members of the Paralympic Family shall endorse the Vision, Mission and values of the IPC and shall respect all IPC Codes, Policies and Rules.

IOC/IPC Eligibility Conditions Form

All participants at the Olympic and Paralympic Games must sign and agree to the terms within the IOC Eligibility Conditions Formand/or IPC Eligibility Conditions Forms. The terms of this agreement include, but are not limited to, a media release to the IOC, restrictions on personal commercial use of images/videos, compliance with the Olympic Charter and the World Anti-Doping Code, assumption of the risk, release of liability, release of personal data, and an arbitration agreement. Participation in the Olympic Games is conditional upon the acceptance of and compliance with such terms. 

Anti-Doping Rules for PyeongChang 

Pursuant to requirements under the World Anti-Doping Code (Code), the IOC and IPC established anti-doping rules specific to the 2018 Winter Olympic/Paralympics Games in PyeongChang that all participants must comply with in addition to all other anti-doping rules and regulations. The IOC Anti-Doping Rules Applicable to PyeongChang include definitions of doping and what constitutes rule violations; information about testing, testing periods, and investigation procedures; results managements; potential sanctions and consequences, the process for appeals, and information regarding confidentiality and will be in effect from the opening of the Athlete Village, February 1, 2018 until Closing Ceremonies, February 25, 2018. The IPC Doping Control Guide for PyeongChang supplements the IPC Anti-Doping Code and provides a summary of key aspects of doping control and shall apply from the opening of the Athlete Village until Closing Ceremonies: March 3, 2018 – March 18, 2018.


All prohibited substances and methods on the 2018 WADA Prohibited List shall be in effect and testing will be conducted in-competition and out-of-competition at any time or place with no advance notice by blood or urine. In-competition testing shall be defined “the period commencing 12 hours before a competition in which the athlete is scheduled to participate through to the end of such competition and the sample collection process related to such competition.” Athletes to use ADAMS to include sufficient details of their whereabouts (block and room number in the Olympic/Paralympics Villages and place of training) so they can be easily located for doping control during the Games.

Athletes need to use caution with anything they ingest and check the status of everything they take as they are responsible for what enters their system. Prior to the Games, athletes must apply for and obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for any medication or method they are using to treat an illness or medical condition that is included on the 2018 WADA Prohibited List. Extreme caution is recommended regarding supplement use due to the risk of a positive anti-doping test, contamination, and/or adverse health effect.  For the Paralympics, the 2018 Paralympic Games Formulary – Pharmaceuticals Guide contains the list of medications that will be provided at the polyclinic in the Paralympic Village. 

For the Olympics only, the IOC has established an independent body, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Anti-Doping Division, to hear and adjudicate all doping cases in relation to consequences at the Games pursuant to the CAS Anti-Doping Division arbitration rules

For more information, it is encouraged that athletes read the World Anti-Doping Code, applicable International Federation Anti-Doping Rules, be familiar with the 2018 Prohibited list and WADA International Standards, submit TUE applications well in advance of the Games, consult the Global Drug Reference Online and Supplement 411 to look up the prohibited status of medications and supplements, attentively watch the USADA online education modules, update whereabouts when/if necessary, and reach out to USADA directly with questions at 719-785-2000. 

Late Athlete Replacement Policy for Rio Olympics

The Late Athlete Replacement (LAR) Policy applies only when there is an urgent medical condition preventing participation of an athlete, or upon an exceptional circumstance. The replacement athlete must meet all eligibility and qualification criteria, have no pending doping control issues, and have successfully applied for accreditation, registered on the “Long List,” and submitted the Conditions of Participation Form.  In accordance with the IOC LAR for PyeongChang Olympics, the IOC may permit the permanent replacement of one athlete by another ONLY in the same sport/discipline/event after the sport entries deadline up to the time of the Technical Meeting/first Team Captains' Meeting for the relevant sport/discipline/event, which will be detailed in Appendix 1: Sport-specific implementation (coming soon). The IPC LAR for PyeongChang Paralympics will be forthcoming. 

USOC Delegation Terms

For every Games, the USOC requires athletes, coaches, Games staff, USOC employees, and Executives/Guests/Dignitaries to sign and abide by the USOC Games Delegation Terms (previously known as the USOC Games Forms) as a condition of participation at the Games. The USOC Games Forms contain a code of conduct or athlete pledge; disclosure requirements; grievance procedures; a general release (that includes a consent to medical treatment, media release, an assumption of the risk and release of liability); a form to include insurance and beneficiary information; and a signature page.