Team USA's Chuck Aoki battles with a Team Canada wheelchair rugby athlete at Rio 2016

Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter is an eligibility rule introduced by the International Olympic Committee in 1991 for the purpose of maintaining the unique and universal competitive environment offered by the Olympic Games. The rule helps ensure global participation at the Games and maintain the long-term health of the Movement. The value of the IOC’s international marketing program and the benefit partners receive to market their association with the Games supports athletes around the world, including all members of Team USA. There is a similar rule in the International Paralympic Committee’s Paralympic Handbook that governs participants in the Paralympic Games.

The rule applies to participants in the Olympic or Paralympic Games 2020, including current competitors, coaches, trainers and officials. It only applies to participants in the current Games and is not applicable to alumni. 

In the fall of 2019, the USOPC released an updated Rule 40 and Paralympic athlete marketing guidance for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. This guidance is available below. At that time, the USOPC's CEO Sarah Hirshland also sent a letter of explanation to the Olympic and Paralympic community. On January 14, 2020, the Rule 40 Permissions System opened for Team USA athletes. Read Sarah Hirshland's update on the Rule 40 process.

Please visit the U.S. Rule 40 Permissions System to obtain U.S. Rule 40 permission and to access additional Rule 40 education materials. The site can be accessed at:

The IOC’s Rule 40 and the IPC’s image policy apply during and surrounding Games times. The IOC and IPC establish specific applicable periods for each specific Games.

For the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the IOC Rule 40 period is July 13, 2021-August 10, 2021. The IPC Image Policy dates for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 are August 17, 2021-September 8, 2021.