Athletes who take a knee during Tokyo Olympics will be punished

Raising fists in support of racial equality is also banned.

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Olympics FILE - In this March 24, 2020, file photo, a man is seen through the Olympic rings in front of the New National Stadium in Tokyo. Tokyo Olympic organizers on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020 announced a series of 18 test events set to begin in March and run into May. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Following nearly a year of renewed protest against racial discrimination and police brutality, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) maintains its ban on athletes protesting at ceremonies, podiums, and inside stadiums.

The IOC said that athletes who take a knee or raise their fists supporting racial equality would be punished at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

The committee’s Rule 50 bans any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in venues and any other area of the Olympics, Al Jazeera reported.

Kirsty Coventry, the head of the IOC’s Athletes Commission, told Al Jazeera that 70% of athletes that the IOC spoke to were against any forms of protesting during the games.

“I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that. That is how I still feel today,” Coventry said.

According to the Associated Press, athletes who breach Rule 50 can be sanctioned by the IOC, their sport’s governing body and their national Olympic committee.

The Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on July 23.

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