Mo Farah, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Adam Gemili are among a 20-strong group of athletes threatening to sue the British Olympic Association (BOA) over controversial sponsorship rules.
The athletes contest that ‘Rule 40’ – an International Olympic Committee (IOC) regulation that protects official sponsors during the Olympic Games – is limiting their earning potential.
BOA rules state that athletes can only have limited interaction with personal sponsors during the Games. The association argue that, as a self-funded body, they could not provide their world-class support without the funding from official sponsors.
However, a letter carrying the names of top British athletes insists it is harming them financially during the biggest event of their short careers.
"It’s with sadness that we are having to now take legal action against the BOA but their lack of willingness to have an open and sensible conversation about Rule 40 has led us to this point," Gemili told the Daily Mail.
"We acknowledge the good work the BOA does and we are not asking for any money, not even for prize money, which most other countries provide. We are only asking for parity and an equal opportunity on our marketing rights.
"There are a lot of athletes interested in what we are doing. I fully believe all of the British team - summer, winter, Olympic and Paralympic athletes - will be behind this."
Other nations have relaxed the IOC rule, allowing athletes to have greater control over their personal sponsors during the Games.