Announcement from the USA: Anti-racism protest at the Olympics hoped for

Tommie Smith’s fist raised on the podium in Mexico City is still the symbol of peaceful protest against racism at the Olympic Games. More than 50 years after his iconic gesture at the 1968 Summer Games, the American athletes want him to find imitators on the same stage in Tokyo – but unlike the Olympic champion over 200 meters, they should not lose their sporting prospects or lose their sporting prospects to fear other punishments. Because the United States, itself guilty of the suffering of the African American Smith, has been changing course for months: athletes should be allowed to protest “respectfully” at the Olympics. Against racism, for social justice.



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This recommendation from a working group of the Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is still nothing more than that: a recommendation. In response to increased pressure to amend Rule 50 by the IOC, which prohibits all demonstrations and political, religious or racist messages, IOC President Thomas Bach referred to the IOC Athletes Commission. It was supposed to find out “in dialogue with their colleagues and athletes from all over the world” how athletes “can express their support in a dignified way,” said Bach in June.

But the word of the United States carries weight in the Olympics more than that of any other nation. Not only do most of the medal winners often come from the United States, but most of the money comes from sponsors and the television station NBC from the United States into the accounts of the IOC. And it can hardly be clearer than what was written on Thursday – Human Rights Day.

“Muting athletes during the Games stands in stark contrast to the importance of recognizing participants first as people and then as athletes,” said the USOPC working group’s letter of recommendation to the IOC. “Banning athletes from freely expressing their point of view during the Games, especially those by historically underrepresented and inferior groups, helps dehumanize athletes and goes against key values ​​of the Olympics and the Paralympics.”

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