Carmelita Jeter ,Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross pose together following the Women's 200 Meter on Day 9 of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
London (Gannett) -- The tweet said simply this: "I am honored to be an Olympian, but #WeDemandChange2012."
Sanya Richards-Ross tweeted. So did Nick Symmonds. And Doc Patton. And Bernard Lagat. And Aretha Thurmond. And Lashinda Demus. And Jamie Nieto. And Lauryn Williams. And Leo Manzano. And Khadevis Robinson. And Marquise Goodwin. And Trey Hardee. And Janay DeLoach. And, well, on and on and on.
The target of what appears to be a coordinated campaign of U.S. track and field athletes - all the tweets were almost exactly the same, and many of them popped up at about the same time - is the International Olympic Committee and Rule 40.
Rule 40 stipulates this: "In accordance with Rule 40 (formerly 41) of the Olympic Charter, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board."
Does that mean that during the blackout period - shortly before to shortly after the Games - Richards-Ross needs IOC permission to use her own name and face?
Another IOC guideline says: "Participants and other accredited persons are not permitted to promote any brand, product or service within a posting, blog or tweet or otherwise on any social media platforms or on any websites. Participants and other accredited persons must not enter into any exclusive commercial agreement with any company with respect to their postings, blogs or tweets on any social media platforms or on any websites, unless they have obtained the prior written approval of their relevant NOC."
Manzano wrote this on his Facebook page: "I am very disappointed in Rule 40 of the USOC as I just had to take down my picture of my shoes and comments about their performance. This rule is very distracting to us athletes, and it takes away from our Olympic experience and training."
The issue has been bubbling out there, just under the surface, for a while. It's no longer bubbling under the surface.
"As the IOC/USOC tries to avoid ambushers, what they have done is created an opportunity for athletes from all over the world to unite via social media" to discuss how athletes are treated unfairly, said Evan Morgenstein, President and CEO of PMG Sports, via Twitter. He represents Olympic swimmers Cullen Jones, Jason Lezak, Jessica Hardy among others.
In the leadup to the Games, the IOC had definitely made it clear that ambush marketing would be targeted.
"Our position is very clear. We have to protect the sponsors because otherwise there is no sponsorship and without sponsorship there is no games," President Jacques Rogge said this month.