No logo: Paralympians still face tattoo ban, main Games less strict

Fri May 6, 2016 9:35am EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Olympic athletes with tattoos are unlikely to be barred from the Rio Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Friday after a Paralympic swimmer with his team logo inked onto his chest was banned from a race.

British gold medalist Josef Craig was disqualified from a race at last week's IPC European Championships after failing to cover up the tattoo: the team's lion's head design above the Olympic rings.

The International Paralympic Committee said he had breached a rule stating "body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols)."

It said Craig was displaying a logo of an event he was not competing in. The Paralympic Games are governed by a completely separate organization from the IOC and have their own logo.

Many champion athletes, including record gold medalists Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte, have Olympic tattoos, and the IPC's ruling, three months before Rio, raised fears of potential bans.

But while any tattoos that advertise a product will need to be covered up - with blank tape or patches - in Rio, athletes at the main Games will be allowed to show others, an IOC spokesman said.

"The president is always excited to see athletes with the Olympic Rings," an IOC spokesman said. "Standing alone, the Olympic Rings are a great expression of appreciation of the Olympic Games and of the Olympic values."


A tattoo of the Olympic rings logo is seen on the back of Hungary's Olympic hopeful Gergo Kis during the Hungarian Swimming Championship in Budapest July 11, 2008.  REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh