#OwnYourSkin Movement Calls for Athlete Protest at Track & Field Olympic Trials

June 29, 2016

The #OwnYourSkin movement is calling Olympic track and field hopefuls to show their support for the sponsorship rights of Olympic athletes at the upcoming Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., July 1-10. Athletes supporting the movement will wear black tape on their arms as a sign of protest.

Led by two-time Olympic runner Nick Symmonds and integrated marketing agency Hanson Dodge Creative (HDC), the #OwnYourSkin movement is fighting for the fair compensation of Olympic athletes leading up to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A team of volunteers will aid in providing black tape and #OwnYourSkin stickers to the 24,000 in attendance so fans can show their support for the athletes.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make billions of dollars in revenue during the 2016 Summer Olympics, none of which will be paid directly to Olympic athletes. In addition, the IOC’s restrictive Rule 40 makes it nearly impossible for athletes to support their training and their livelihood by displaying individual sponsorships on their body or apparel. According to a recent study, more than 50 percent of USATF athletes live below the poverty line.

“Billions of dollars exchange hands during every Olympic cycle, and zero of these dollars go to the athletes directly. It’s wrong and certainly not consistent with nearly every other professional sport,” Symmonds said. “We created the #OwnYourSkin campaign to shed light on this injustice and to demand a revenue sharing model or, at the least, allow athletes to advertise their sponsors."

Numerous athletes have already pledged to support the #OwnYourSkin movement by spreading the word on social media and wearing the black tape at the trials. In addition to Symmonds, athletes supporting the campaign include two-time U.S. champion distance runner Lauren Fleshman, two-time U.S. champion long jumper Chris Carter and many more, including Olympians from countries all over the world.

Symmonds first partnered with Hanson Dodge Creative (HDC) to make an initial push towards change leading up to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. After HDC won Symmonds’ eBay auction for arm space, Symmonds wore the HDC logo via temporary tattoo during Olympic competition, but due to the restrictive sponsorship rules had to cover the logo with a piece of tape. The tattoo and the tape received coverage from more than 100 major news outlets and sparked a conversation that ultimately led to USATF dropping advertising restrictions.

To learn more about the movement, visit and follow the movement on Twitter at @ownyourskin2016.

About #OwnYourSkin
#OwnYourSkin moves to bring awareness of restrictive advertising rules set for by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which make it nearly impossible for athletes to support their training and their livelihood by displaying individual sponsorships on their body or apparel. Learn more about the movement at and follow the movement on Twitter at @ownyourskin2016.

About Nick Symmonds
Nick Symmonds is a two-time Olympian for Team USA - Track and Field. He specializes in the the 800m. An avid outdoorsman, Nick lives and trains in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more at and follow Nick at @NickSymmonds.

About Hanson Dodge Creative
Hanson Dodge Creative (HDC) is a fully integrated, strategically driven agency with more than 30 years of experience working with leading active, healthy and sustainable brands like Trek, Wilson, K-Swiss and more. We unleash the full power of our collective mind to inspire audiences and transform business. Our specialties are brand engagement, campaign development, technology solutions and digital commerce. Learn more at

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