IOC Maintains Athletes Will be Punished for Protesting

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The International Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that athletes will be punished if they protest in Tokyo while in stadiums, at ceremonies or on podiums.

According to Reuters, IOC’s Rule 50 will prohibit any kind of “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in any Olympic area during the Games, which will run from July 23 through August 8 in Japan. The rule has been in place for months, but the organizing committee consulted with more than 3,500 athletes and announced the rule will be maintained.

“I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that,” said IOC’s Athletes’ Commission chief Kirsty Coventry, a former Olympic swimming champion from Zimbabwe who led the review of Rule 50.

Coventry went on to clarify that athletes would be punished for making political statements like taking a knee in support of racial equality.

“That is also because of the majority of athletes we spoke to,” she said, noting that about 70 percent of athletes consulted did not want protests on podiums, ceremonies and competitive venues. “That is what they are requesting for.”

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