USOC issues relaxed Rule 40 marketing guidelines

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) The U.S. Olympic Committee has released guidelines for athletes who want to endorse non-official products during the Olympics, following up on a change in international rules that relaxed restrictions many Olympians found too burdensome.

The U.S. guidelines, which fall in line with rewritten International Olympic Committee Rule 40, calls for endorsements to be ''generic'' and have no direct or indirect association with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Any requests for waivers have to be submitted to the USOC by Jan. 27, and the campaigns have to start no later than March 27.

If the waivers are approved, the ad campaigns can run during the Olympics - a practice that had been banned.

At the 2012 Olympics, some athletes protested the blackout period and took to Twitter using the hashtag ''WeDemandChange2012.''

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