AP Photo/Ryan Kang
In addition to running through the tape, Nick Symmonds will be showing off his tape at the Olympic Trials.
The 800-meter runner, who has long fought against the marketing restrictions placed on track and field athletes, is hoping several dozen of his fellow runners and thousands more fans will wear black tape when the trials start Friday to show solidarity with his mission.
Symmonds skipped last year's world championships to protest rules that prevent athletes from promoting their own sponsors at the sport's biggest events.
This time, he's going the ``black tape'' route -- a slam at event organizers who hand out black tape for atheltes to use to blot out marks of ``non-official'' sponsors when they compete.
"If we can't change things through litigation, then we have to go through protest, and athletes have to stand up and say, `Enough is enough. This will change or we're not going to race anymore,''' Symmonds said.
As part of the ``Own Your Skin'' movement that he spearheaded, Symmonds recently sold space on his shoulder for more than $20,000 to a sponsor to place a temporary tattoo.
Symmonds, who is CEO of Run Gum, which unsuccessfully sued the U.S. Olympic Committee over its licnesing rules, is hobbling with a bad left ankle and isn't sure if he'll compete this week. Either way, he'll be at Hayward Field to push his cause.
"It's about building awareness,'' said Symmonds, who cited a recent study that estimated half of track and field's athletes live below the poverty line. He said people need to come together and say "this is (expletive), and it's time we change these rules.''