The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has warned its athletes against using Olympic podiums as a location for protests in Tokyo next year.
According to the Daily Telegraph, in spite of Mack Horton receiving support from Swimming Australia to continue his podium protests, the AOC has taken a different tact.
“The Australian Olympic Committee respects the rights of athletes to hold convictions and to express those convictions, AOC CEO Matt Carroll said. “But the medal podium at the Olympic Games is not the place to express personal views on any matter regardless of their merit. The joy and significance of that moment should be respected by all and not be denied to any athlete. There are other forums where views can be expressed without negatively impacting on fellow athletes.”
In the past, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld a decision by the IOC to strip a medal from Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian in 2008 after protesting a refereeing decision.
The Telegraph also reports that Mack Horton was short-listed to become one of Coca Cola’s national ambassadors for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Telegraph’s headline and editorialization appear to connect Coca Cola’s decision to choose another athlete (wheelchair basketball and tennis star Dylan Alcott) over Horton to his podium protest, but they never mention any source on connecting the two. The Telegraph did report that Coca-Cola says that not selecting Horton was unrelated to his podium protests.
Sun is being featured in Coca-Cola’s Olympic campaign in China.
Australian swimmer Mack Horton abstained from podium festivities and refused to take photos with Sun Yang when he took second to the Chinese star in the 400 free at Worlds. Sun is currently facing a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in September to decide his fate after a vial of his blood was allegedly intentionally smashed in the presence of a drug tester in September 2018. While Horton and Sun have a history that goes back to the Rio Olympics, when Horton called Sun a “drug cheat,” Great Britain’s Duncan Scott (who does not have such a history), followed suit, also refusing to shake hands and take pictures with Sun on the 200 free podium.