Athletes could benefit from proposed Olympic rule changes on sponsors

Olympic officials could end rules related to athlete sponsors at the Games could be in for a change

It took years, but athletes might finally get a significant change they have been seeking in the Olympic rules.

During the 2012 London Summer Games, competitors openly complained that the International Olympic Committee bars them from promoting non-official sponsors during the month or so surrounding the Games.

So, if a high jumper has a personal endorsement contract with a health food company that isn't an Olympic brand, he or she cannot even mention that sponsor.

Why is that important?

Many amateur athletes rely on such deals to pay the bills while they train year-round. At the same time, Olympic officials want to offer exclusivity to corporations that pay big money to be official sponsors.

With the IOC meeting in Rio de Janeiro -- site of the 2016 Summer Games -- this week, the executive board has recommended altering rules 40 and 50 in this matter.

Under the proposed changes, generic (non-Olympic) advertising would be allowed during the Games. And there would be an increase in "the maximum size of a manufacturer's identification while respecting the clean field of play to prevent conspicuous advertising."

"Athletes have wanted this changed for a very long time," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the Associated Press. "It's been a very long discussion."

The proposals will be presented to the full IOC membership for approval at a session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this summer.

Follow David Wharton on Twitter @LATimesWharton

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