These terms, if used on social media during the Olympics, could get athletes in trouble

Companies that do not sponsor the Olympics are subject to Rule 40 during the Games which prevents them from using certain words and terms.

July 29th, 2016 by | Posted in Rio 2016, The Scene | Tags: , , , , , , ,

You may have noticed that athletes and companies recently have been using some unusual jargon in reference to the Olympic Games. “The big event down south” or “the city that rhymes with neo bee sin arrow,” are two such examples.

That’s because the International Olympic Committee is playing hardball with athletes and companies that are not official sponsors of the Games. Popular brands that sponsor Canadians, like New Balance and Asics, will have advertising limitations for the next month.

The IOC enforces limitations, known as Rule 40, on non-sponsors so they cannot reference any Olympic-related term towards an athlete on social media during a one-month blackout period. If Andre De Grasse wins gold in Rio? Puma, which is not an Olympic sponsor, will have to stay silent or face legal ramifications.

The rule is aimed to “preserve the unique nature of the Olympic Games by preventing over-commercialization.” Rule 40 applies to “athletes, coaches/trainers and officials participating in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.” Fans are exempt from the rule.

RELATED: U.S. Olympic Committee angry over women’s brand Oiselle’s social media photos.

Major sponsors of the Olympics include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Visa, Samsung, General Electric and Panasonic. A non-sponsor cannot use an athlete’s image to promote their brand. The rule is meant to protect the official sponsors’ investment in the Games and stop ambush marketing from non-sponsors.

Terms including “Rio,” “effort,” “challenge” and many more are off-limits. The full list of words that could result in disciplinary action can be seen at the bottom of the page. Companies may get the help from individuals to promote their brand instead of using corporate accounts.

RELATED: Olympian Luc Bruchet gets neighbourhood support in the best possible way.

The blackout period came into effect on July 27 and will last until Aug. 24. Canada’s Olympic runners took to social media on July 26 to thanks sponsors to avoid any sort of disciplinary action.

Alright so tomorrow is the beginning of the Olympic black-out period know as Rule 40- this means for the next month I can't thank or post about any of my sponsors and they can't post or talk about me at all either. So here it goes- THANK-YOU SO FREAKIN MUCH to all of my amazing sponsors who have supported me over the years on this incredible journey to becoming an Olympian. I am so fortunate to have such awesome companies in my corner. @asicscanada @nuunhydration @smithoptics @ifkitsilano @cepcanada @radrollerteam @canfund @bc.athletics @prairieinnharriers. And to all my physios, chiros and RMTs who have kept me healthy & ready to race- you guys are the best- thank you. My friends and family- well you all know how much a love you guys. and of course my coach Richard Lee.- it hasn't been easy but here we are! Thanks rich:) This Olympic Dream would never happen without so many fantastic ppl in my life. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart everyone!!!!! #somuchlove #thankful #rule40 #roadtorio #asics #asicsgirl #bebrave #liveyourdream #nevergiveup PHOTO CREDIT – @christhornphotography

A photo posted by Natasha Wodak (@tasha_wodak) on

To circumvent the rule, some companies and organizations have gotten creative in congratulating or sending well wishes to athletes. Run Gum, for example, used the term “big event down south” to reference the Olympics.

See all of Canadian Running‘s Rio 2016 coverage here.

According to the BBC, athletes could even be in jeopardy of losing a medal if they’re found to be in violation of Rule 40.

Terms that are not to be used

– 2016
– Rio and Rio de Janeiro
– Gold
– Silver
– Bronze
– Medal
– Effort
– Performance
– Challenge
– Summer
– Games
– Sponsors
– Victory
– Olympian

Olympic-related terms

– Olympic
– Olympics
– Olympic Games
– Olympiad
– Olympiads
– “Citius – Altius – Fortius” (the Olympic motto)