At a time when athletes are encouraged by the press to start spouting politics the moment a camera is pointed at them, the International Olympic Committee is attempting to make a stand.
Kneeling or raising fists in “protest” during the Tokyo Olympics will be punished, and the IOC on April 21 upheld its ban on athletes’ protests inside stadiums, at ceremonies and on podiums, according to DailyMail.com.
The IOC forbade any kind of “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in venues and any other Olympic area, and the panel concluded the rule should be upheld after consulting with more than 3,500 athletes.
Amid saturation coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement which claims to protest racial injustice, and whose founder is an admitted Marxist, calls have increased in recent months for the Olympics rule to be changed.
The IOC’s Athletes’ Commission chief, Kirsty Coventry, who led a review of the rule, said the majority of athletes asked were against protests on fields of play or on the medal podiums.
“I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that. That is how I still feel today,” Coventry, a former Olympic swimming champion from Zimbabwe, said in an online presentation. Asked if athletes would be punished in Tokyo for making political statements such as taking a knee on the podium, Coventry said: “Yes that is correct.”
“That is also because of the majority of athletes we spoke to. That is what they are requesting for,” Coventry said, adding that some 70 per cent of those athletes did not want protests on podiums, ceremonies and playing fields