U.S. Athletes initiate Olympic twitter protest against IOC Rule 40

U.S. Track and Field athletes initiated a Twitter Protest using the hashtag #wedemandchange2012 against the International Olympic Commitee's Rule 40.


  1. Around 5:20 EST Olympic Track & Field athletes started what may be the first ever Olympic twitter protest against the International Olympic Committee Rule 40. Track and Field Star Sanya Richards-Ross delivered the the first tweet, which included a hashtag (#wedemandchange2012) and also mentioned NBC Olympics. Rule 40 prevents athletes from appearing in sponsorship advertising that is not from an official Olympic Sponsor during a specific time around the Olympic Games. 
  2. Nick Symmonds, an 800 meter runner who has protested limitations on athlete sponsorships in the past, also joined in on the protest. It was soon obvious that this was an organized protest, as he tweeted the exact same thing as Sanya. 
  3. A twitter analysis on Socialbro revealed that 209 different people tweeted with the #wedemandchange2012 hashtag over the course of 2 hours. 
  4. Click on the links below to read the entire IOC Rule book about Rule 40.
  5. Rule 40 basically states athletes cannot appear in non official Olympic sponsor advertising from July 18 until August 5. This dramatically limits the earning potential of athletes as Olympic Sponsors are the only ones who can benefit from their heightened exposure during the time period.
  6. Olympian Bianca Knight (4 by 100m) provided some funny twitter commentary on how this might affect athletes.
  7. As expected Lolo Jones also gave her support.
  8. Fans of Olympians reacted positively to their online protest by retweeting and commenting.
  9. This article argues that athletes should have the right to individual sponsorship.