Athletes Banned From Protesting, Demonstrating At Tokyo Olympics

Athletes will be banned from protesting and demonstrating at the Tokyo Olympic games after the governing body upheld a rule. 

According to CNN, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled to continue implementing Rule 50 which prohibits demonstration from athletes. The committee took 10 months to conduct a survey of more than 3,500 athletes from 185 different National Olympic Committees and 41 Olympic Sports. 

In a statement released on Wednesday (April 21), the committee said the results of the survey showed “a clear majority of athletes said that it is not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play, at official ceremonies, or on the podium.” 

“The goal of this wide outreach was to engage with athletes and hear their thoughts on existing and new opportunities to express their views at the Olympic Games as well as outside Games time,” chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Kirsty Coventry said. 

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

Violations of the rule will be handled on a case-by-case basis the committee said, but athletes could face sanctions. 

Rule 50, the IOC said, is to keep the focus of the Olympic Games on the performance of athletes in their sport and unity. 

In March, the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee said Team USA athletes can hold up a fist, kneel, or wear paraphernalia that promotes racial and social justice during trial events. 

In place of protests, the IOC provided guidelines on alternatives athletes can implement during the games including promoting “the importance of solidarity, unity and non-discrimination at the opening and closing ceremonies.” Messaging that is inclusive on athletes’ garments is also a proposed recommendation. 

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are set to start on July 23 of this year. 

Photos: Getty Images

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