The upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics will not allow athletes to protest or demonstrate.
On Wednesday April 21, the International Olympic Committee announced that a protest ban would be applied to athletes when they are in stadiums, attending ceremonies and on the podiums.
“Rule 50” states that it will not allow any “political, religious or racial manifestation or propaganda” in Olympic spaces. The IOC revealed that the decision was made with input from the athletes.
“I wouldn’t want something to distract from my competition and take that away. This is how I still feel today,” said IOC Athletes’ Commission Chief Kirsty Coventry in a presentation online according to CBS.
Coventry said 3,500 Olympic athletes from 185 different countries had been asked about their feelings about the protests. About 70% of those surveyed did not want to see any demonstrations during the games.
When asked if the athletes would face any form of punishment if they decided to take a knee or participate in another event, she replied, “Yes, that is correct”.
There were no details or specifications on what qualifies as a protest or demonstration. The IOC has not announced what the punishments will be for those who break the rule.
Many major changes have been made to the upcoming games, both for athletes and participants.
Due to health and safety regulations, international spectators are not allowed to attend the games in person. Ticket holders will receive refunds at the time of purchase. The IOC revealed that there will be virtual options for fans to still enjoy the games to some extent. Meanwhile, athletes were “strongly encouraged” to get vaccinated before arriving in Japan.
The 2020 Olympics were postponed last year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of this article’s publication, the games are scheduled to take place in Tokyo from July 23 through August 8.