By Karolos Grohmann
ATHENS (Reuters) - The U.S. Olympic Committee has asked the campaign to re-elect President Bush to pull an ad that refers to the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.
The ad has angered Olympic officials because they feel it hijacks the Olympic brand -- a registered trademark -- even though it does not display the Games logo.
The U.S. Olympic Committee had asked the Bush election "campaign to withdraw the advertisement they are running," International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies told reporters.
The television advertisement, ahead of the presidential elections in November, does not feature the five Olympic rings -- one of the world's most recognizable images -- but an announcer tells viewers that at "this Olympics there will be two more free nations," referring to the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under Bush's presidency.
Afghanistan returned to this year's Games after its Olympic Committee, controlled by the then ruling hard-line Taliban regime, was suspended in 1999 and missed the 2000 Sydney Games.
The IOC reinstated Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
The IOC said no official request had been made for the use of the reference to the Games.
"We own the rights to the Olympic name and nobody asked us," Gerhard Heiberg, head of the International Olympic Committee's Marketing Commission had said on Wednesday.
Ha ha! Dickheads.