Run Gum filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Eugene, Ore., accusing USA Track & Field and the United States Olympic Committee of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by restricting sponsor advertising at the U.S. Olympic Trials set for July.
Run Gum, a performance chewing gum company that was co-founded by two-time Olympic 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds (Bishop Kelly High), has retained the services of antitrust specialists Hausfeld LLP — the same legal team behind the Ed O'Bannon case.
The suit alleges USATF and the USOC, along with other unnamed co-conspirators, have jointly agreed to exclude various businesses from sponsoring athletes in return for advertising exposure on athletes’ competition apparel at the trials.
“We are simply looking to level the playing field,” Symmonds said in a press release. “It is completely illogical and unfair to allow a very small sector of the market to have total control over the advertising space on an athlete’s competition uniform.”