London - The International Olympic Committee is not ready to back down on its strict sponsorship rules in the wake of an athletes' protest on social network Twitter that they are unable to present their personal sponsors at the London Games.
IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said the athletes were restricted for only one month every four years at the Games where the IOC protects its 11 top sponsors such as Visa and Coca Cola who pay hundreds of millions of dollars to IOC.
A group of US athletes have challenged this so-called rule 40 in the Olympic Charter such as former 400 metres world champion Sanya Richards-Ross and 100m hurdles Olympic champion Dawn Harper.
"I am honoured to be an Olympian but #wedemandchange #rule 40," Harper for instance tweeted.
Adams defended the strict IOC rules as "entirely the right thing to do," saying the athletes' personal sponsors were "not giving money back to the Olympic Movement" while the IOC returns more than 90 percent of their top sponsors' income to federations and National Olympic Committees.
The IOC fears free publicity for non-Olympic sponsors while the athletes say they cannot present their personal sponsors when they have maximum exposure.
Adams said athletes had to right to make their view known through the IOC athletes commission, but that he expected a huge number of the 10 500 athletes at the Games to support the IOC rule because it helps lesser known athletes and countries.