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Top track athlete Nick Symmonds sues U.S. officials in sponsorship dispute

Nick Symmonds competes at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field team trials at Hayward Field on June 22, 2012.

Nick Symmonds competes at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field team trials at Hayward Field on June 22, 2012.

(Christian Petersen / Getty Images)

Olympic runner Nick Symmonds is once again butting heads with the powers that be in track and field.

Symmonds wants to wear the logo of the caffeinated chewing gum he co-founded somewhere on his body during the upcoming U.S. Olympic trials, but that would violate the rules that restrict sponsor advertising.

So he and his Run Gum brand have filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against USA Track and Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The organizations limit advertising to companies with whom they have sponsorship deals. This arrangement has been a continuing problem for athletes who have individual contracts with other brands.

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The restrictions “ultimately harm athletes, who rely on sponsorships to fund their training activities and make a living,” attorney Sathya Gosselin in a statement.

Last summer, Symmonds was left off the U.S. world championships team for refusing to sign a contract that required American athletes to wear Nike gear at all team functions.

The Olympic trials are scheduled for July 1-10, about a month in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.


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