Olympic athletes face punishment for this act


Athlete protests and political messages will stay banned on the Olympics, the IOC mentioned after a survey discovered {that a} majority of rivals have been in favor of preserving the ban in place.

Meaning elevating a fist on the rostrum — like American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos famously did on the 1968 Mexico Metropolis Olympics — or taking a knee would nonetheless threat punishment on the Tokyo Video games this yr.

The IOC mentioned it surveyed greater than 3,500 athletes over the previous yr and that 70 p.c mentioned it was “not applicable to show or specific their views” on the sphere of play or on the opening or closing ceremony.

The survey additionally confirmed 67 p.c of respondents disapproved of podium demonstrations.

The IOC has not mentioned what penalties athletes might face for protesting, however a “proportionate” vary of punishments will probably be drafted earlier than the video games, mentioned Kirsty Coventry, who represents athletes on the IOC government board.

Smith and Carlos have been each expelled from the 1968 Olympics after their salute.

Upholding Rule 50 of the Olympic Constitution, which prohibits any “demonstration or political, non secular or racial propaganda” on the video games, places the IOC at odds with Olympic officers in the US.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee mentioned in December it won’t take motion if athletes elevate their fists or kneel through the nationwide anthem at their occasion trials earlier than Tokyo.

The American Olympic physique, which inducted Smith and Carlos into its Corridor of Fame in 2019, eased its stance after athletes requested for the correct to precise themselves on racial and social justice points.

Whereas the USOPC tips permit athletes to put on attire displaying phrases corresponding to “Black Lives Matter,” the language is extra restricted within the IOC steerage revealed Wednesday.

Permitted phrases on T-shirts and elsewhere in Tokyo are “peace, respect, solidarity, inclusion and equality,” the IOC mentioned.

Coventry, a former Olympic swimming champion who’s now sports activities minister in Zimbabwe, mentioned the survey and analysis carried out by the IOC Athletes’ Fee was guided by unbiased consultants on human rights and social sciences.

The IOC analysis consulted formally acknowledged athlete panels from nationwide Olympic committees and sports activities governing our bodies — a course of that restricted enter from activist athletes.

Different concessions agreed Wednesday embrace including references to “inclusion and equality” within the Olympic Oath learn on the opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23.

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