If you’ve wondered whether there’ll be kneeling at the Tokyo Olympics, here’s news you can use.
As reported by Reuters Wednesday, following a consultation with athletes, the International Olympic Committee has decided against it.
The edict bans both kneeling and raising fists into the air.
Per Rule 50, there’ll be no “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda.”
That goes for event venues and any other Olympic areas.
Reuters notes there’ve been calls to reverse the rule, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Some have said Olympians should be able to gesture in favor of their preferred cause.
Count among that group some international federation chiefs, including World Athletics President Sebastian Coe.
Yet, chief of the IOC’s Athletes Commission — Kirsty Coventry — explained that the majority of participants consulted gave the idea Two Thumbs Down:
Kirsty — a former Olympic swimming champion herself — gets it:
“I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that. That is how I still feel today.”
But — as Reuters points out — don’t think the games are down on social change:
Coventry said there were a series of recommendations approved by the IOC’s Executive Board on Wednesday, including providing clarity on sanctions, more information about Rule 50, a change of wording of the Olympic Oath with messages on inclusion, and producing athlete apparel with inclusive messaging.
The Olympic Oath will be changed after an extensive consultation of the IOC Athletes' Commission on Rule 50 and athlete expression, bringing in an emphasis on:
Full details here: https://t.co/8KVn6LRci6 pic.twitter.com/XUubVu4t8F
— Christian Klaue (@ChKlaue) April 21, 2021
Speaking of, the Japanese Olympic Committee hit headlines not long ago, thanks to council president Yoshiro Mori.
In February, the 86-year-old wasn’t exactly woke while waxing on women at a council meeting:
“If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying.”
That didn’t go particularly well, but then he clarified that chicks have a “strong sense of rivalry.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 4, 2021
As I wrote at the time, “Unfortunately, some didn’t appreciate his attempt at crystallizing the situation.”
83-year-old ex-prime minister Yoshiro Mori slated to step down on Friday following his sexist comments about women more than a week agohttps://t.co/dsuuF2BDps
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) February 11, 2021
Apropos, will athletes be punished for violating the rules in Tokyo?
Kirsty was clear:
“Yes, that is correct.”
“That is also because of the majority of athletes we spoke to. That is what they are requesting…”
So there ya go, America: Unofficially starting July 21st, you may actually watch athletic activities occur without the benefit of political messaging.
It may take a bit to adjust, but time is on your side: You’ll have ’til August 8th to get used to it.
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