Maria Michta and a handful of other American athletes have used their social media platforms to voice their displeasure with an International Olympic Committee (IOC) rule that forbids athletes to be photographed or to mention their sponsors if they are not official sponsors of the Olympic Games 2012.
Michta's blog post today spelled out "Rule 40" of the athletic code of conduct, and Michta explained her position in a rousing, emotional description of how she made it to the Olympics, how she is compensated (or not) and how she would like to thank her "sponsors," namely the Sachem community.
"I have no big brand corporate sponsor who gives me free gear, pays me a salary, and gives me a bonus for making it to events like the Olympics or rewards my spotlight in the media with another bonus check. No my sponsors are my family, my friends, my high school community, the family of race walkers around the country. My sponsor bonus comes from each and every dollar thrown in my bucket, every donation on my website, the spare change that the SEGVT girls got people to throw in at the carwash when cars waited at a red light. Those are the sponsors that I represent. And because of rules like #Rule40 and others I could not use the image of myself at Olympic Trials or the title US Olympian in any pictures, posts, or tweet to fundraise money to help pay for my travel expenses and get my family, the family that has sponsored me from day one, over to London to watch me compete," she stated in her post.
The car wash Michta mentions in her post refers to an to raise funds for her family's travel expenses to London. The original flyer sent to Patch to promote this event had to be altered to erase the Olympic rings logo, because of Olympic policies such as Rule 40.
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Yahoo sports ran an article on Michta as well as other athletes who have joined in the battle over the ruling by using #wedemandchange and #rule40 in their Tweets. This includes US runner Sanya Richards-Ross, who cited the ruling as an "injustice" to the smaller sponsors who help make her career possible by sponsoring her throughout the year.
According to the article, the IOC hasn't responded to the protests, but president Jacques Rogge will be questioned about it when he is at the Olympic Park on Tuesday or Wednesday.