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Dr. Dre Angers Olympic Organizers; Athletes Rebel Over Twitter Sponsor Restrictions

Dr. Dre, Jack Butland Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella, Stu Forster/Getty Images

It's nothin' but a brand thing, but it's landing Dr. Dre in hot water with Olympic officials.

The hip-hopster has managed to accomplish what few music entrepreneurs have been able to do: crash the 2012 London Olympics with a stealth marketing campaign.

The International Olympic Committee is looking into whether it can take action after the Dre sent his Beats headphones sporting the Union Jack to a slew of Great Britain athletes, angering the IOC, which is seeking to safeguard corporate sponsors' brands.

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Per Yahoo Sports, a number of Olympians have already been spotted out wearing the headphones at various events, including Monday's synchronized platform diving competition and a British soccer match.

To complicate matters further, some athletes, like Team Great Britain goalkeeper Jack Butland and tennis player Laura Robson, sent out tweets about it before apparently removing them after incurring the displeasure of organizers.

Such unsanctioned marketing stunts are in violation of IOC rules that are meant to protect partners who have paid millions to have their brands on display during the Olympics and demand exclusivity. For instance, sponsor Panasonic has a direct stake in keeping its competitors, which include Dre, from trying to advertise their electronic wares.

"If there is a blatant attempt at ambush marketing or by a group of people with commercial views, then of course we will intervene," IOC President Jacque Rogge told reporters at a press conference before the Games began.

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The British aren't the only ones digging Beats; U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps was said to be eearing them as well.

A rep for Dr. Dre was unavailable for comment.

This isn't the first time the "Nuthin' But a G Thing" hitmaker has tried to capitalize on the Olympics. In Beijing in 2008, Dre gave LeBron James the headphones and distributed pairs to members of the U.S. Men's National Basketball Team.

Meanwhile, some U.S. athletes have launched a Twitter campaign protesting the IOC's so-called Rule 40, a stringent regulation banning Olympians from promoting their personal sponsors on social media if they are not official London 2012 sponsors.

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"I am honored to be an Olympian but #wedemandchange #rule40@NBCOlympics," tweeted U.S. hurdler Dawn Harper along with a twitpic of her teammates.

She also posted another picture of herself with tape covering her mouth and the words "Rule 40" written on it.

American sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross meanwhile complained that the IOC is failing to take into consideration the needs of the athletes to make ends meet themselves.

"We definitely don't want to start a war," Richards-Ross told reporters about the restrictions placed on them. "I'm definitely not forecasting more Twitter revolts or an uprising of the athletes."

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But the Jamaican-born star noted: "Six billion dollars is trading hands around these Games while so many of my peers are struggling to stay in the sport. It's a global issue and it's an issue that is important to us. This is our only platform."

For its part, the IOC doesn't appear to be budging.

"Those athletes lucky enough to have a high-profile sponsor can work with them throughout the four years," replied IOC spokesman Mark Adams. "They have only one month where they can't do that."

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