If you are planning to use a Rio 2016 Olympic Games athlete in a U.S.-based advertising campaign that will run between 24 July and 24 August 2016, then you must submit your campaign to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for a Rule 40 waiver no later than 27 January 2016.

Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter prohibits current Olympic athlete advertising during the Games. The rule provides in part that “Except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games.”

In the past, the only exceptions to the rule were for broadcasters and Olympic sponsors. This year, the USOC has implemented a waiver for the Rio 2016 Games which will allow non-Olympic sponsors to continue to use an Olympic participant’s images during the Games for advertising purposes, provided that certain requirements are met.

All advertising must be “generic” (i.e., no direct or indirect association with the Games) and must be rolled out on a continuous basis by 27 March 2016 so as to protect sponsors and ensure that the non-sponsor is not taking advantage of the Games period. All elements of the ad campaign must be reviewed and approved by the USOC in order to receive a waiver.