The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided last week to continue the ban on protests on podiums, at official ceremonies and at stadiums.
The alleged “rule 50” states that political, religious, or ethnic protests or demonstrations are not permitted.
Al Qaeda has been increasingly questioned in recent years, especially as the Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum in the United States and gained the support of many American sports stars.
In Europe, footballers participate above all else. When the men’s World Cup qualifiers began in March, the national teams of Germany and Norway, among other countries, signaled a human rights violation against Qatar in relation to the construction of the stadium before the tournament.
If the IOC had not tread the protest issue, it would have become an even bigger problem before the Beijing Winter Games next year. China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang has already led to demands for a boycott of the Games.
The Swedish national team knelt
The IOC streak is supported by former swimming star Kirsty Coventry, who is chair of the Active Committee of the International Olympic Committee. Coventry recently said it doesn’t want any “distractions” when competing.
– And I still feel this way.
Swedish high jump legend and IOC member Stefan Holm is in the same row.
After all, there are very few athletes who go to the Olympics with the idea of ”I’m going to defend political protest here,” but the first idea is competition, Holm tells TT.
I think most people think that the podium, as well as the playing field, should be a protected area.
But not everyone agrees.
British swimming star Adam Beatty, who won Olympic gold in Rio 2016, for example, is critical of Al Qaeda.
I believe that people have the right to protest and they have the right to do it wherever they want. According to Reuters, they should not be penalized for expressing their opinions.
“It clearly shows where we stand.”
The Swedish women’s soccer team knelt before several matches last year. As recently as before the international match against USA at Friends Square in April, when American women did the same.
I think football and politics are the same thing, or they belong together and are always followed. You can’t say anything about that. I think it’s important to be able to get your voice heard and talk about it, says backstory star Nella Fisher.
The 36-year-old is expected to take a place in the Swedish Olympic team this summer. She says it might be difficult for Sweden to kneel if there was a ban.
There are many organizations that want to focus only on football. “We have clearly demonstrated our position on this issue, which we will continue to do along the way,” Fisher says.
But Fisher also notes:
If there is a ban on protests in the Olympics, we may have to follow these guidelines.
The Facts: “Rule 50”
The rule means that the prize stand, official ceremonies and the playing field must be protected from various types of demonstrations and protests.
However, it is allowed to speak freely, for example in press conferences, social media, mixed areas and in the Olympic Village.
According to Holm, the rule exists that “sport itself is apolitical” and that everyone, regardless of gender, religion, gender, skin color, etc., is welcome.
The International Olympic Committee has not yet decided what punishment those who might protest in any case should expect.
Facts: Three well-known Olympic protests
Peter O’Connor, Aton 1906
One of the first known protests in the Olympic context. The Irishman was forced to compete under the British flag because Ireland lacked an Olympic committee of its own. At a time when Ireland was fighting for its independence from Britain, it was a decision that did not satisfy O’Connor very well.
After his long jump silver, he didn’t want to stand under the British flag at the awards ceremony and took over himself. He himself climbed the flagpole and waved a green flag bearing the words “Ireland forever”.
John Carlos and Tommy Smith, Mexico City, 1968
A few months after Martin Luther King was shot dead, and in the midst of the raging civil rights movement in the United States, American runners John Carlos and Tommy Smith protested at the stage in Mexico City.
The bronze medalist Carlos and the gold medalist Smith raised a closed fist in the air, a gesture linked to the US black power movement that fought for the rights of blacks in the country.
Both were expelled from the Olympic Village, suspended from the US Olympic team and brought home.
“He never let us forget that we were wrong,” Smith said after his career turned back on.
“We were not wrong. We were well ahead of our time.”
+ Vera Kaslavska, Mexico City, 1968
Two months before the Summer Games, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovak gymnast Kaslavska, who was a critic of the former Soviet regime, fled to a hideout in the woods.
Despite shipping, she took four gold and two silvers in Mexico. During a party, Cáslavskábort turned his head off the Soviet flag, in a subtle sign.
But the quiet protest had dire consequences for Kaslavska. She retired after the Olympics but was suspended from working as a coach, and instead became a janitor. After the fall of communism in 1989, she was welcomed back into the heat. Kaslavska became a member of both the Czech Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee.