Allyson Felix runs in Rio

Because a significant amount U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (“USOPC”) funding comes from U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sponsors (“USOPC Sponsors”), those companies are granted rights to use Olympic and Paralympic trademarks and/or imagery (“Marks”) for promotion and advertising. The USOPC does not allow unaffiliated third parties (those who have no official relationship with the USOPC or “Non-USOPC Sponsors”) to use its Marks commercially. These guidelines are intended to assist athletes in understanding how they may work with commercial entities without giving Non-USOPC Sponsors the improper commercial benefit of associating with the USOPC, Team USA, or the Olympic or Paralympic Games. 

The USOPC’s Olympic and Paralympic Athlete Commercial Guidelines are effective at all times.

These Olympic and Paralympic athlete commercial guidelines may be updated by the USOPC at any time. The guidelines were last updated May 17, 2019. 

A. Commercial use of Marks by USOPC Sponsors and Non-USOPC Sponsors

1. Endorsement Contract with U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sponsors (including worldwide Olympic sponsors)

USOPC Sponsors are the only parties that have been granted the right to use USOPC Marks commercially. USOPC Sponsors must submit proposed ads, press releases, Olympian and Paralympian public appearances or other promotions through the USOPC marketing department for review and approval prior to release. 

2. Endorsement Contract with Unaffiliated Third Party

Non-USOPC Sponsors may not use Olympic, Paralympic, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 or other Team USA or Olympic Marks in any commercial context without the USOPC’s permission. Further, they cannot  create the false impression that they are a Sponsor of the Games and/or Team USA. 
In the event that an athlete enters into an endorsement deal with a Non-USOPC Sponsor, the Non-USOPC Sponsor  should make certain that advertising, websites, promotions, etc. focus on the athlete and his/her achievements. In no event may a Non-USOPC Sponsor use video or photography from Olympic or Paralympic Games (“Games”), U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Trials (“U.S. Team Trials”), which includes, but is not limited to, photos or videos of Olympians or Paralympians with their medals or wearing U.S. team apparel.  This restriction applies at all times, not only for commercial activity surrounding the Games.

Non-USOPC Sponsors may submit for USOPC approval ads containing biographical references to athletes as Olympians or Paralympians. 

B.Olympic and Paralympic Footage

Neither athletes nor third parties may use the official broadcast footage of U.S. Team Trials or Games competition without the express consent of the USOPC. This requirement includes but is not limited to: use of footage on websites or public exhibition of any kind, whether for any personal, commercial, or charitable purposes. Requests for historical Olympic or Paralympic footage should be directed to the USOPC; however, please note that NBC controls the footage from Tokyo 2020 through December 31, 2020. Athletes must comply with IOC and IPC rules regarding video recording at official venues, including the athlete village. 

C. Compliance with Athlete Advertising during Games Blackout Period

As per the IOC’s Rule 40 and corresponding rules for the Paralympic and Pan American Games, unless a waiver is sought from and granted by the USOPC, all commercial activity by U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team members must cease during the blackout period of the respective Games. Commercial activity means that athletes participating in the Olympic or Paralympic Games cannot allow his or her person, name, picture or sports performance to be used for advertising purposes. The blackout period for each Games  generally corresponds with the period of time that the Olympic or Paralympic Village is open). 

Please note violation of these IOC and IPC rules may affect an athlete’s eligibility to compete. Please see the USOPC’s separate guidance on obtaining waivers for the IOC’s Rule 40 and the corresponding provision for the IPC or PASO.    

D. Athlete Apparel at Official USOPC functions

As described in the USOPC Athlete Behavior and Pledge, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team athletes must wear the Team USA apparel issued to them at all official USOPC functions including but not limited to: the Games, USOPC Media Summit, Sponsor Workshops, Medal Ceremonies, Opening/Closing Ceremonies, press conferences arranged by the USOPC and/or hosted by the USOPC, IOC, IPC, Tokyo 2020 or LA 2028, the White House visit, and other engagements arranged by the USOPC (“Official USOPC Functions”). At these Official USOPC Functions, athletes may not wear branded apparel or accessories that are not part of the U.S. Team apparel issued by the USOPC. 

In addition, during the Opening/Closing Ceremonies and Medal Ceremonies (except in those instances in which medals are awarded at the venue immediately following the competition and the USOPC has granted a waiver for  the athlete to wear his or her competition apparel on the podium), athletes must wear the USOPC issued gear for such ceremony in full, including shoes, hats, ball caps, sunglasses, or other apparel and accessories that are provided and required.

E. Specialized Equipment

An athlete has the right to select his or her Specialized Equipment for use in protected competitions, such as the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Parapan American Games, or the U.S.  Team Trials.

The USOPC shall have the sole authority to determine what equipment constitutes Specialized Equipment (aka “personal performance gear”) for each sport. The list of USOPC approved equipment is located under Personal Performance Gear at https://www.teamusa.org/Footer/Legal/Other-Documents.

The USOPC may require an athlete to cover sponsor logos on Specialized Equipment (other than manufacturers’ logos complying with the IOC’s Rule 50  or the equivalent provision for the Paralympic Games) at events where a “Clean Venue” is required (e.g., Olympic or Paralympic Games, U.S. Team Trials, etc.).

F. Fundraising

Do not use Olympic, Olympian, Paralympic, Paralympian or other Marks, symbols or terminology that looks in any way like a trademark, (e.g., banner headline, part of a domain name, in large or prominent letters) anywhere on fundraising letters, a web site, or on promotional merchandise (t-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, key chains, etc.).

Athletes may use Olympic or Paralympic terminology in text to describe their aspirations (e.g., “my goal is to compete at the Paralympic Games in Rio.”) or accomplishments (e.g., “Olympic gold medalist – 400m relay.”).

These parameters apply to all Marks owned by the USOPC, which include but are not limited to Team USA, Go For The Gold, Let The Games Begin, Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022, Road To Tokyo and other trademarks that specifically refer to the Games.

G. Philanthropy

Athletes are encouraged to participate in other philanthropic organizations. Those organizations may use Olympic and Paralympic biographical references that are specific to the athlete and balanced with other non-Olympic/Paralympic accomplishments. Such organizations cannot use Olympic- or Paralympic-themed materials, or photos/videos of athletes from the Games or with their Olympic/Paralympic medals in their fundraising efforts, operations or activities.

H. Websites

Athlete websites should follow the general rules regarding permissible uses of the Marks and the restrictions on Non- USOPC Sponsors. Athletes must separate the Non-USOPC Sponsors from all Olympic or Paralympic references (including photographs from the Games) on the website. This can be done, for example, by putting the athlete’s sponsors who are Non-USOPC Sponsors on the home page but keeping all Olympic or Paralympic references in a separate section/page of the web site that does not feature any commercial entity.

If an athlete seeks donations or other financial support on his/her website, to the extent possible the fundraising portion of the site should be separate from Marks and imagery, including Games photos. Factual Olympic and Paralympic references should be made in small type, for example, to describe the athlete’s goals or achievements, rather than used in banner headlines.

If a fan-created website exists, this website should be informational and not sponsored by third parties or commercialized by the fan who created it. Websites with commercial affiliation must not use Marks without permission from the USOPC.

I. Athlete Resources

For questions, contact: 
USOPC Athlete Marketing
Email:   athlete.marketing@usopc.org

Team USA athletes should contact the office of the athlete ombudsman for cost-free, confidential, independent advice regarding athlete rights or responsibilities related to marketing, questions related to participation in protected competition, or any other rule, policy, process or athlete agreement.
Phone: (719) 866-5000
Email: ombudsman@usathlete.org
Website: usathlete.org