This past Friday on Twitter Sanya Richards-Ross openly gave her statements about logo restrictions on athletes' jerseys along with questioning why athletes are not paid for participating in the Olympic Games. Richards-Ross' statements come not long after an interview featured on Flotrack with her USA Track and Field teammate, Nick Symmonds. The interview with Symmonds came after his appearance on CNBC where Symmonds openly talked about sponsorship issues. Symmonds has been very vocal on this topic since the fall when he wrote this blog about governing bodies crippling track and field athletes (see a great response to Nick's blog from Toni Reavis). The blog started a lot of talk amongst track and field athletes, but it has been rare to see other athletes really stand out to let their voices be heard in public....more specifically, athletes that carry weight from being the best in the world. 

The Track and Field Athletes Association was formed this past year to help give a voice for the athletes. They have done a great job in starting to bring athletes together to work towards making the sport better (see list of members, both Symmonds and Richards-Ross are on board). Adam Nelson, a member of the board and two-time Olympic Silver medalist, is another athlete that has been vocal about sponsorship issues and the Olympic Games (see interview below). Lauren Fleshman also brought attention to the sport when she was forced to scrub off a temporary tattoo from her arm while on the starting line that was promoting her "Picky Bars" business.

Watch more Flotrack videos on Sponshorship


However Richards-Ross may be the biggest name to speak up yet. Sanya is the best hope for Olympic Gold out of the athletes who have been vocal. She is arguably one of the best 400 meter runners of all time. With the exception of 2010, she has run under 50 seconds every year since 2004 including her 2006 American record run of 48.70. As of 2009, Richard-Ross had run under 50.0 over the one lap race over 40 times in her career (four of those were under 49 seconds). She ranks #7 all-time in the event. The only major achievement that has eluded her up to this point is an individual Olympic Gold medal. Heading into the London Olympics, Richard-Ross ranks #2 in the world with her mark of 49.28 (Antonina Krivoshapka of Russia is #1 at 49.16).

Below is a list of tweets primarily from Sanya's feed, but also include some from her followers. There are many tweets emphasised with hashtags such as #WeDemandChange and #QuestionsThatNeedAnswers. There are some big statements and strong opinions from both Sanya and her followers. We think it's great that more athletes are starting to speak up, but it change will not come with just one or two voices over Twitter. In reality it is unlikely we will see a major movements during the Olympics without any plan or organization around these questions that athletes would like answers to, however, the months after the Games will speak highly of how serious athletes are with regards to their concerns. We hope to see the momentum continue on and not fizzle out when attention towards track and field from the Olympics has died out.

Check out some of the interaction on Sanya's twitter below. Many fans showed positive support on Sanya's views while others reacted negatively to Sanya's opinions. Note: there is some strong language below.



Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

Track athletes should be allowed to don multiple logos on our uniform. I'd love to show my other great sponsors love!!!#WeDemandChange RT

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

With $6 billion exchanging hands during the Olympics why do the athletes compete for free?!? #QuestionsThatNeedAnswers#WeDemandChange

 

Ricky Berens ‏@RickyBerens

Not just track, ALL athletes RT @SanyaRichiRoss: Track athletes should be allowed to don multiple logos on our uniform.#WeDemandChange RT

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

We'd run for free, if every1 offered their services 4 free,all in the spirit of patriotism,but since they aren't we shouldn't-@NickSymmonds


Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I am 1 of the very fortunate athletes that work with wonderful sponsors during the Olympic year.But an injustice against 1...#WeDemandChange

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I loooove what I do!! I have been doing it for 20 years and no matter what happens I'll do it 4 as long as I can. But I want to be a part...

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

Of a generation that effected change. Not just stayed quiet and made as much money as I could. But left the sport better than I found it!


Wayne Jolly ‏@cool876guy

@SanyaRichiRoss the plain unvarnished truth.....and it needs to be said....repeatedly!!!!...anytime anywhere anyplace!!!!

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

To all my fellow Olympians out there... Let's RT as much as we can! Let's get our voices heard... #WeDemandChange


Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I'm working on how we can get others involved! #OnAMission #WDC RT @ATXChristina@SanyaRichiRoss Is there anything we, as fans, can do?

 

Sarah Lesko ‏@drlesko

@SanyaRichiRoss totally agree. And for smaller co's @Oiselle who WANT to sponsor, the logo rules make it incredibly difficult. Stranglehold.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I'm on it! RT @Powell2daPeople@SanyaRichiRoss Convince@usainbolt, the only athlete with power to force change, to get behind your cause.

 

Terry Jackson ‏@TerryJackson_

@SanyaRichiRoss Speaking nothing but the truth, enough is said.#TheFansDemandChange#TrackNation

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross


Nancy Merriman ‏@nam5m

"@SanyaRichiRoss: if not now.... WHEN?!? @amazonink" With the Olympics coming up people are listening now.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross


Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

;-) RT @dont_blink1: Uh oh. @SanyaRichiRoss has joined@NickSymmonds in the movement. Talk about the best candidates possible for the job.

 

Sue Peterson ‏@SuePeterson13

@SanyaRichiRoss Good for u! The words needed to be said - let this be a rallying cry to all athletes. Very proud that u are a USA athlete!

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

This is my 3rd Olympics! Haven't been pd yet! Def not my motivation!!! RT @alex_levinson: don't bother then if that's all that motivates u?


Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I LOVE WHAT I DO! RT @LawAffiliated@posterwordplay@sanyarichiross Why do you continue to compete for free if your against it?

 

Hunter Hall ‏@hhall5223

@drlesko @SanyaRichiRoss @Oiselle Exactly the same problem for us here @Swiftwick. It keeps small companies like us from being able to play.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

Will do! RT @Enwad13@SanyaRichiRoss Maybe you can do one of your blogs during the Olympics to raise awareness

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

Thanks to everyone that supports us and wants to see more of the amazing personalities in T&F. With more support more inspirational faces...

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

...like @DaLJBeast @DHarp100mH @chauntelowe--phenomenal talents with incredible stories can have platforms for their stories to be told!!!

 

Tim Huntley ‏@MyAthleticLife

USOC CEO earned $902,977 in 2011. How much will u earn from the Olympics @SanyaRichiRoss? u r the reason we watch.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

Even that's not allowed! :-/ RT @poakes9@SanyaRichiRoss Wear aT-shirt with them on in warm-ups.

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I'm baffled as to why people believe this is an issue of gratitude. Because my gift is athletic and not creative like I didn't come up...

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

Also wanted to be clear that one of the major issues isn't just funding athletes through revenue earned at events like the Olympics...

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

But also changing regulations to allow athletes to receive private sponsors and display logos on our jerseys.....

 

Carolyn McClanahan ‏@CarolynMcC

@SanyaRichiRoss Thank you for standing up. We act so proud of our athletes and we need to put our money where our mouth is.#hardwork

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

Currently we can't, so limited return on investment for companies!#ImDone for now ;-)

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

but now with assets worth $45million &NBC paying billions for TV rights do you still think it reasonable to call the Olympics amateur...

 

Tyler Kart ‏@TylerKart

@SanyaRichiRoss Athletes compete for free because the Olympics are about pride for your country not being a money hungry asshole

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Robert Roselle III ‏@ElderBlack35

People really getting on @SanyaRichiRoss for asking that athletes get paid? Someone's making MILLIONS off her unpaid work. That's a problem

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

darren rovell ‏@darrenrovell

Because no1 has opposed it RT @SanyaRichiRoss: With $6 Billion exchanging hands during the Olympics why do the athletes compete for free?

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I won't tolerate that! RT @toddallenlee@SanyaRichiRoss you compete for #Country...it's a privilidge you stupid bitch.


Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

No problem! Have a great one ;-) RT @toddallenlee:@SanyaRichiRoss You're right, I apologize for my for comment. Good luck in London.


Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

WOW RT @st84@darrenrovell because no one would give a rat's a$$ about their sports if not for the Olympics. that is their payment


Mike Menssen ‏@mikemenssen

@TylerKart @SanyaRichiRoss But someone is making A LOT of money from the athletes. It's fair that they should get a share.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Mike Taylor ‏@miketaylorwm

@SanyaRichiRoss Instinctively it feels right that Games should be 'amateur' BUT you are right. The world has changed. Good debate to have.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Dank Sinatra ‏@terrycdxx

@sanyarichiross taking a beating over wanting to be paid. Volunteer work is done in your off time, this is her job. She should be paid.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Breanne Ward ‏@1breanneward

@SanyaRichiRoss Olympic athletes are "paid" in a different way Olympians get an experience that most people only dream of, 2 be real heroes.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I only speak on things I really believe in. Not going to sit by because I do well, while others struggle! #RightIsRight

 

Brigetta Barrett ‏@bebe3114

@bebe3114 @genelee4 @1breanneward @sanyarichiross what I do takes a lot of time sacrifice and money how am I supposed to support myself?

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Brad Walker ‏@SkyWalkerPV

An athlete revolution is coming to track and field. I commend@SanyaRichiRoss for speaking out. With leaders like her, we will see change

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

M V C K @NewYorkBreed

It's only right that every track athlete supports @SanyaRichiRoss . She is speaking for our future. A better future.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Kendrick De'Von ‏@KendrickDeVon

@sbarlette @sanyarichiross It's crazy. That's y some fall off. If u aren't the top athlete, u make no money. They should ALL be paid.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Kendrick De'Von ‏@KendrickDeVon

@sbarlette @sanyarichiross An elite T&F athlete should never have 2 decide btwn competing & putting food on the table like some do.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

I absolutely love social media where else can you listen and be heard!!!! #WeDemandChange #TeamSRR #London2012

 

Caleb Morris @_CalebRuns

@SanyaRichiRoss, I'm about to be 15 and T&F is my passion. You speaking out is going to do great things for the aspiring track athletes.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross

 

Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

The bottom line is it cost lots money to be one of the best in the world. If we could get free food, medical, coaching etc.. Cont'd

 


Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

....It would be ideal but others aren't held to same standards that athletes are. We lack patriotism bc we want to earn living? Cont'd



Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

...Where do we draw the line? The Olympics is the greatest platform for most athletes (track, swimming) etc and regulations make it...



Sanya Richards-Ross ‏@SanyaRichiRoss

Impossible to capitalize on! Other countries fund their Olympians so that they can stay in the sport! US Olympians deserve the same!!!



Kyle Anthony ‏@Birdbones10

@SanyaRichiRoss I would love to get involved. At my law school, I can write about any legal issue I want, and I'm choosing to write on this!

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross



Amazon Ink ‏@amazonink

@SanyaRichiRoss I say this with love. I am a huge fan. But as a representative of Team USA, you might not want to tweet about this right now



Robert Rumsey ‏@robrumseyca

@amazonink @sanyarichiross if not now, when?Over 50% of USATF's top 10 athletes in each event live below the poverty level.

Retweeted by Sanya Richards-Ross



Paul Richard ‏@PaulMRichard

@SanyaRichiRoss Every sports competition in the world has $ benefits for competitors....except the biggest one. Definitely time for a change