In the wake of last week’s news concerning the disqualification of Josef Craig at the IPC Swimming European Open Championships due to an Olympic rings tattoo, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reassured Rio-bound athletes that their symbolic tattoos are indeed safe.
While competing in Funchal, Portugal, Craig was deemed disqualified for his tattoo composed of a lion with Olympic rings due to the IPC rule stating that ‘body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols)’. This led to speculation that other athletes with tattoos including Olympic rings would be at risk of disqualification at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
However, last Friday the IOC said this would not be the case. An IOC spokesman told the press that Olympic athletes with tattoos are “unlikely to be barred from the Rio Games.”
While any tattoos that advertise a product will need to be covered up via blank tape or patches, athletes at the main Games will be allowed to show others. (Reuters)
Said the IOC spokesman, “The [IOC] president is always excited to see athletes with the Olympic Rings. Standing alone, the Olympic Rings are a great expression of appreciation of the Olympic Games and of the Olympic values.”
“We take a common sense approach to tattoos, whatever they are,” he said of the IOC’s intentions in Rio.
As for Josef Craig, however, IPC spokesman Craig Spence indicated that the paraswimmer’s DQ would still apply at the Paralympic Games in Rio. “He would have to cover it up as he did for the remainder of the competition last week”, Spence said.
We previously reported that USA Swimming Assistant Executive Director Mike Unger indicated that Olympic ring tattoos will not pose any issues at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials next month.
“This is really an issue for the U.S. Olympic Committee, which owns the U.S. Olympic Trials – Swimming,” Unger stated. “However, we have had conversations with the USOC on this topic, and the USOC does not intend to pursue this as an issue (meaning…no DQs).”