olympic tattoo
Athletes sporting Olympic tattoos will be allowed to take part in Rio Olympics 2016 Getty

Athletes sporting tattoos are unlikely to be barred from the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic games, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The ruling comes in the wake of a paralympic swimmer being banned from a race due to the team logo being inked on his chest.

British gold medallist Josef Craig was disqualified from a race at last week's IPC European Championship after failing to cover his tattoo which was of a team's lion head design over the Olympic rings. He was banned from competing by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) which said he had breached a rule as "body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever".

The IOC leniency is because the IPC is a separate organisation with its own logo.

An IOC spokeperson said: "The president is always excited to see athletes with the Olympic rings. Standing alone, the Olympic rings are a great expression of appreciation of the Olympic Games and the Olympic values."

"Common sense, we take a common sense approach to tattoos whatever they are."

Many famous Olympic medal winners including Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte, sport Olympic tattoos. While having one is fine, any tattoo that advertises a product would need to be covered up.

The ruling means that athletes sporting personal tattoos would be allowed, like Russian synchronised swimmer Anastasia Davydova who has a butterfly covered back. She would have no problems in taking part in the Rio Games.

Paralympians, though, would need to cover all their tattoos with the rules being tougher. An IPC spokesman confirmed the strict rules when it comes to body art.