By Duncan Mackay at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London

Lashinda Demus_with_Olympic_silver_medal_400m_hurdles_London_2012August 25 - American athletes are continuing their campaign to force the International Olympic Committee to scrap the controversial Rule 40, which bans competitors from promoting non-Olympic sponsors during the Games.

The most prominent athletes campaigning for the change are Sanya Richards-Ross, who won the 400 metres at London 2012, and Lashinda Demus (pictured top), the silver medallist in the 400m hurdles, who have both continued to tweet about the subject using the hash-tag #WeDemandChange.

"We know the next step is critical to have something actually happen," Demus told USA Today.

"What pushes my buttons is that we don't get paid for competing in the Olympics and they make billions.

"Rule 40 is icing on the top - and then we have this?

"That made it worse."

The rules protect the 11 international companies, including Visa, McDonald's and Coca-Cola, which help to bankroll the Olympic Movement, paying around $100 million (£63 million/€81 million) each for four years of global rights to sponsor a Winter and Summer Games.

Those companies and sponsors of National Olympic Committees are exempt from rules designed to prevent "ambush marketing", non-sponsors getting free publicity on the back of the Games.

Rule 40_Sanya_Ross-RichardsSanya Richards-Ross has used her Twitter account to protest about IOC Rule 40

Richards-Ross, who also won a gold medal at London 2012 in the 4x400m relay, has also continued to criticise the rule, which is in force for a month in the build-up to the Olympics, the Games themselves and a short period afterwards. 

She tweeted, "What is the IOC's biggest asset? The athletes yet many of my peers have nothing while $6billion generated around games [sic]. #WeDemandChange"

Demus claimed that the athletes were being used unfairly by the IOC.

"We're running for our country and running for free," she told USA Today.

"Basically we're unpaid entertainment.

"Athletes aren't having a war against the IOC.

"It's clear the Olympics are a profit-driven event and this should be an issue on the table that we talk about and find a solution for it." 

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