IOC to Consult With Athletes’ Commission on Protests, Expression at Olympics

In a statement titled “Resolution of the IOC Executive Board with regard to racism and inclusion,” the International Olympic Committee – just hours after confirming it would continue to outlaw protecting and punish athletes who do so – said that it “condemns racism in the strongest terms.”

“The IOC stands for non-discrimination as one of the founding pillars of the Olympic Movement,” the statement says. “The Olympic Games are a very powerful global demonstration against racism and for inclusivity. They are a celebration of the unity of humankind in all our diversity. Athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team all enjoy the same rights, respecting each other and with the same rules applying to everyone without any kind of discrimination. All these athletes live peacefully together in the Olympic Village, sharing their meals, their thoughts and their emotions.”

In the wake of the national calls for change in the United States following the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd, sports organizations have begun to loosen their rules against protests and demonstrations.

Even the NFL, infamous for its handling of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s kneeling demonstrations, reversed its stance last week. But the IOC made clear this week that it would still outlaw protests on the podium or medal stand at Tokyo 2021, according to The Telegraph.

IOC president Thomas Bach did say in the statement Wednesday, however, that the organization’s Athletes’ Commission will “talk with athletes around the world to explore how Olympians can express themselves at the Games while keeping the Olympic Charter in mind.” The commission is headed by Zimbabwean Olympic gold medalist in swimming Kirsty Coventry.

Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter says: “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

Earlier this week, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said that it would create an athlete group to examine its internal policies, including the right to protest. Prior to that, it released a statement condemning racism and saying it supports athletes pursuing equality, but the statement was written off as hypocritical in light of last year’s decision to put two athletes on probation after protesting peacefully at Pan Ams.

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Anonymous
7 months ago

Not the time and place for it on a world showcase.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Anonymous
7 months ago

Spend less time on figuring out how people can protest and more time on how Tokyo can actually host the games in 2021.

Tupperware
Reply to  Anonymous
7 months ago

Honestly, I feel like there isn’t a better place for it.
Athletes are going to do it regardless – it’s just a matter of how much of a hole the IOC digs themselves into before that.

Olympian
Reply to  Anonymous
7 months ago

Thats exactly the point of a protest, genius!! I wonder if there was ever a “time and place” for police brutality and racism as well…
Don’t expect it to be convenient. The hard conversations are the ones worth having

CHAZ in Seattle
7 months ago

The IOC should make it clear to medalists that if they protest during the medal award ceremony, they forfeit their medals. Take the protest somewhere else — perhaps at the press conference after the ceremony.

CHAZ in Seattle
Reply to  CHAZ in Seattle
7 months ago

We don’t put up with that kind of nonsense in Chaztopia! My warlord, Raz Simone, will knock a few heads if you try that.

CHAZ in Seattle
Reply to  CHAZ in Seattle
7 months ago

Viva la Chaztopia! Gracious in victory, humble in defeat!

Steve
7 months ago

Mixing sports and politics will be the end of sports.
In spite of overwhelming media coverage glorifying the violent protests, the majority of citizens, the law-abiding citizens condemn the burning, looting, murder — all in the name of fighting racism and police brutality.
How about the great majority of police that risk their lives every day protecting victims of violent criminals?

Olympian
Reply to  Steve
7 months ago

Steve, if you’re still putting protesters and looters in the same bag… And the “all lives matter” talk?? I’m sorry but you just don’t get it
I guess the best you can do to help is stay on your couch enjoying your privileges IN SILENCE, at least don’t be part of the problem

Steve
Reply to  Olympian
7 months ago

I spent a lifetime working and studying for my “privilege”. I am a former Hungarian freedom fighter who came to America for freedom, opportunities and to work to get ahead. Anyone can succeed in America if they are willing to work for it. Rioting, looting, burning is not the way. America is the greatest country on this planet and I will not be silenced while the far-left terrorists try to destroy her.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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