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July 25, 2016

USA Track and Field Athletes with #Rule40 Blacked-Out Sponsors

Megan Murray

It's happening! Here at Oiselle, we stand with our athletes, against Rule 40 — the blackout period from July 27th through August 24th that prohibits athletes and their sponsors from talking about each other in any form. 

For athletes, the blackout period and Rule 40 prevent Big Event qualifiers from marketing themselves during the most visible moment of their career. This censorship is incredibly limiting, both financially and professionally. Especially when you consider only half of American track and field athletes who are ranked in the top 10 in their event earn more than $15,000 a year from the sport. 

For sponsors, it keeps us from supporting our team, and the talent that we have nurtured over the course of a career. The financials here are real -  it takes approximately $300K over a four-year period to develop an athlete that can compete at this level and qualify for this team.

In the future, we will push for change. We want to see money from the millions the IOC/USOC/USATF are making off the image of these athletes – actually make it to the athletes’ pockets. But there is something very real, and very actionable today you can do to support the athletes.

While we are restricted from supporting, celebrating, and promoting our athletes during the window, you — the fans — are not. We encourage you, between now and through the Big Event with the Five Circles, to use the hashtag #freebird16 and tag @oiselle to support our athletes. 

And we encourage you to do the same for other brands and athletes. As Phoebe Wright said, “fans are the loophole.” 

To make it easy, and to help all athletes get the visibility and support they deserve — we created a shareable (and pinnable!) list of all USATF athletes, and their Rule 40, blacked-out sponsors.


Here’s how to get involved:

FLY WITH US: #freebird16

1. Use our fan-banners to show your support for our birds: Kate GraceMaria Elena Calle and Maria Michta.

How: Download the banners by opening the link below and saving the image. Add to your Twitter and/or Facebook header. 

2. Spread the word - share our Athlete Support Poster and call your community and social network to stand with athletes, against Rule 40 with #freebird16 (see who's posting) and #rule40.

3. Support, share, and celebrate the athletes competing in the Big Event. Using their social handles (found in the visual above) as well as #freebird16.


Learn more about USOC censorships and stand with athletes against Rule 40.

With The Athletes, Against #Rule40: #FreeBird16 
Update: The Big Event in Eugene
Our USOC-Approved Ad Campaign And Why We Decided Not to Run It


Blake | July 26, 2016 at 5:55pm

Thanks for this! Des Davila

Thanks for this! Des Davila is now Des Linden, and her Twitter handle is @des_linden

Jacob Phillips | July 26, 2016 at 6:02pm

Brommell is w/ New Balance, not Adidas

Brommell is with New Balance not with Adidas.

Verbon | July 26, 2016 at 6:56pm

Athlete poster

Is there a resized image? I saved it and then uploaded it to a Facebook post, but it's too small to read.

jacquelyn scofield | July 27, 2016 at 1:33pm

Thank you!

Now updated.

jacquelyn scofield | July 27, 2016 at 1:34pm

Thank updated!

We have updated the list. Thank you for finding.

Kimberly Grogan | July 27, 2016 at 8:43pm

Tori Bowie -Adidas women's

Tori Bowie -Adidas women's 100 AND 200

Katie | July 29, 2016 at 10:23am

Kudos, Oiselle!

This is awesome. Thanks for sharing it with us... AND including all the athletes affected who are signed with non-Oiselle companies. Can we talk about all the unattached athletes?? My god, I can't imagine what it takes to self-fund that kind of training and make it to Olympics. I barely have time to put together a good week of running with my full time job. And I'm nowhere near Olympic-level.

Kari | July 30, 2016 at 7:48am

govt & nonprofit?

Does Rule 40 extend to government (US Army) and nonprofits (educational institutions)?