The Olympic Committee decides to soften its anti-protest rule ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

Many have been wondering how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is going to handle the athlete protests that are likely to occur at this year’s games. We now have the answer.

USA Today reports that the IOC has decided to soften its anti-protest rule thereby giving activist athletes more leeway. 

Rule 50

Previously, it had been reported that the IOC was planning on fully enforcing its longstanding Rule 50 at the Tokyo Olympics. The essence of Rule 50 is that the athletes can’t protest during the games. There have been instances in the past, in fact, in which athletes were sent home after they broke this rule.

Now, however, the IOC has decided that it will not be strictly enforcing Rule 50.

“Under the new guidance, athletes will be able to express their views on the field of play before competition so long is it is not targeted against people, not disruptive, and not otherwise prohibited by national Olympic committees or international federations,” USA reports.

The outlet adds: “Expressions during competition, in the Olympic village and during ceremonies — including medal, opening and closing ceremonies — remain prohibited under a longstanding rule in the Olympic charter baring ‘political, religious or racial propaganda.’”

The bottom line, though, is that more protesting is going to be allowed in the Tokyo Olympics this year than has been allowed in previous Olympics.

Background

This decision by the IOC, to soften Rule 50, comes following the controversy that was started by U.S. track and field star Gwen Berry.

Berry recently made headlines when, at a U.S. Olympic trials event, she protested the U.S. flag and National Anthem. She did so by placing her hand on her hip, looking away from the U.S. flag, and placing a black “Activist Athlete” T-shirt on her head.

Berry, despite much criticism, has stood behind her actions. And, what’s more, is that she intends to take her protesting to the U.S. Tokyo Olympics. She has specifically said that her role in the Olympics is “bigger than sports,” that she intends to represent those who have been the victims of America’s “systemic racism.”

Berry is just one of many athletes who are expected to do some form of protesting at the Tokyo Olympics. This presented the IOC with somewhat of a problem.

Now, we know the IOC’s response, which is to give ground to the likes of Berry.

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