2020 was supposed to be the year of great things. But after devastating bushfires, flood, disease and political unrest, the world was put to a halt including the swift postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Following the killing of George Floyd just over two weeks ago, the globe has erupted into mass gathering of protests to demand change on police brutality and the treatment of black lives. This is no new movement, particularly in the world of sport where Colin Kaepernick took the knee during the national anthem at an NFL match back in 2016. But in a new confirmation, no such gesture will be seen at the Olympic Games.
Confirmed to Telegraph Sport, the IOC and IPC have confirmed it will enforce bans for any athletes that participate in political protests. The ruling dictates a ban on “gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling.” The strict rules were originally put in place during January 2020 before the protests but we can expect the effects of the past few weeks to filter throughout 2020 and into 2021.
Many prestigious organisations have similar policies in place including the USWNT, however there have been cries to remove the sanctions. Fifa, the Football Association and America’s National Football League have reportedly removed sanctions for peaceful protest.
— USWNT Players (@USWNTPlayers) June 9, 2020
This is not a new rule however. During the 1968 Summer Olympics, African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos took to the podium after the 200 metre race, and wearing a black glove thrust their fist into the air – the most recognised symbol of black power. Smith and Carlos were suspended by the U.S. team and kicked out of the Olympic village. They are now famously known for the move.