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What Athletes Can and Can't Share on Social Media during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

Navigating the rules surrounding the Olympic Games can be confusing for Athletes, so we are here to give you a quick and easy resource to help with one of them; what you can post to social media during the games.

We don't want to get into the dirty details about why the rules exist, but they are in place to help ensure the success and financial viability of the games with regard to current sponsors and rights holders (media companies). What this means for you is you need to be careful about what you post and when. To know what you can and can't post, we are using the Athlete365 guidelines found here, and recommend you also check with your own National Olympic Committee in case they have any specific rules.

The quick version of what you can and can't post is

  • you CAN take photographs and record audio/video (using non-professional equipment)
  • you CAN share your experiences via social and digital media
  • you CAN capture and share content for personal purposes only and not for commercial or promotional purposes
  • you CANNOT share Field of Play or Back of House content.

Field of Play = the area used for a sporting competition or ceremony (including the opening and closing ceremonies) plus the immediate surrounding areas, usually separated from the spectators by a clear boundary. The design and specifications of each differ from one sport to another. Also referred to as the slope, rink, sheet, track, court, field, piste, ring, etc.

Back of House = non-public areas, within and/or surrounding a venue located after the accreditation point and generally those areas of the venue designed to support the operation. Typically located out of view of the public, access to the Back of House areas is restricted to those individuals with the appropriate accreditation. Back of House areas include Organising Committee operational areas; Athlete and Coach only areas; Host Broadcaster operational facilities and compounds; administration offices; etc. For clarity, Back of House does not include spectators’ areas reserved for accredited persons or the Olympic Village permitted areas.

So overall you can and definitely should capture your experiences while at the The Games, but before you post them to social media run it through the above list to make sure your aren't crossing any lines.  And if you have more questions you can consult the official 'IOC SOCIAL AND DIGITAL MEDIA GUIDELINES' which were copied directly from the downloadable guideline document on the Athlete365 website article linked here:⁠…


Athletes and others holding accreditation to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (the Olympic Games) are encouraged to share their experiences with their friends, family and supporters via social and digital media and to preserve the memories of their attendance at the Olympic Games. Please note that whilst these Guidelines refer to athletes, they also apply to all others holding Olympic Games accreditation, except where stated otherwise. 

Olympic Games Content 

Athletes can take photographs and record audio/video (using non-professional equipment) content of the Olympic Games (Olympic Games Content). Athletes can share Olympic Games Content on their personal social/digital media accounts or website, except for Olympic Games Content containing audio/video of the Field of Play or Back of House areas. 

Olympic Values and Olympic Charter 

When capturing or sharing Olympic Games Content, or otherwise engaging through social and digital media during or in connection with the Olympic Games, athletes must comply with the Olympic values, the Olympic Charter, the IOC’s Code of Ethics, the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration and Rule 50 Guidelines Developed by the IOC Athletes’ Commission. In particular, this means that athletes must: 

  • respect each individual or organisation’s honour, integrity, reputation, privacy or private information and rights, including intellectual property rights 
  • respect the integrity and operations, including security measures, of the Olympic Games 
  • ensure content is free of hate, prejudice, racism, religious and political propaganda, division or discrimination • not share or publish Olympic Games Content on social/digital media accounts or websites of others 
  • not act as journalists, reporters or in any other related media capacity while they are at the Olympic Games, including by acting on behalf of any media organisation. 

Personal Use Only 

Athletes may capture and share content for personal purposes only and not for commercial or promotional purposes (other than, as set out in the IOC’s “Commercial Opportunities for Participants” document, for example in connection with official Olympic Partners). In particular, Olympic Games Content should not be included in any “thank you” messages from athletes to their personal non-Olympic sponsors or shared or published on social/digital media accounts or websites of others. 


In case of non-respect of these Guidelines, the terms of their accreditation, any additional guidelines from their respective National Olympic Committee and any applicable laws or regulations, the relevant person will be required to remove the Olympic Games Content from their account or site immediately upon request. Depending on the circumstances, further measures or actions may be taken by the IOC or (if applicable) the relevant National Olympic Committee. 

Written by
Geoff Wolfer
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