IOC Regulations on Political Protests

IOC Regulations on Political Protests

Araby Scott, Contributor

Past Olympic games were often used by athletes as platforms to peacefully protest or raise awareness for political issues. One of the most famous examples included American sprinters John Carlos alongside Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Games who raised their fists upon receiving their medals to signify black power. However, for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics the International Olympic Committee (IOC) detailed the new rules on political protesting and signalling. According to the Olympic Charter Rule fifty, athletes are not allowed to take any sort of political stand whilst on the field. Athletes who break Charter Rule fifty will be subject to discipline from three different Olympic organizations, a sport’s governing body, the IOC and the national Olympic body.

The documents published by the IOC justify their wishes to keep the athletes by stating, “It is a fundamental principle that sport is neutral and must be separate from political, religious or any other type of interference… the focus for the field of play and related ceremonies must be on celebrating athletes’ performance. The document goes on to say, “Athletes at the Olympic Games are part of a global community with many different views, lifestyles and values…The mission of the Olympic Games to bring the entire world together can facilitate the understanding of different views, but this can be accomplished only if everybody respects this diversity.”

One of the most vocal advocates against rule fifty is Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe has dedicated most of her time to fighting for the equal of men and women’s soccer. She vented about the IOC’s statements on instagram by stating, “So much for being done about the protests…So little being done about what we are protesting about.”

The IOC is against Olympians as political beacons, however this idea runs counter to some of the most memorable Olympic games. Most notably are Hitler’s hosting of the 1936 summer and winter games in Nazi Germany as well as the massacre of Israelis during the 1972 Munich Olympic games.