AP Photo/David J. Phillip

The rulebook told Emma Coburn she couldn't promote her sponsor. 

It never said she couldn't take off her shoes. 

AP Photo/David J. Phillip

After Coburn won the bronze medal in steeplechase Monday to become the first American woman to take hardware in that event, she took off her New Balance shoes and draped the laces around her shoulders while she paraded the flag around the track. 

All U.S. athletes are required to wear Nike gear during the Olympics, but shoes are excluded from the rule. 

Coburn, who serves as her own agent, has been outspoken about Olympic Rule 40 and all other rules that restrict what athletes can wear when they're representing the United States at the Games and other events. 

Speaking on a different topic after the race, she referenced, ``My sponsor, New Balance. No, wait, I don't know if I'm allowed to say that.''

In this case, the pictures spoke louder than words.