As the Olympics have just started, 2 opening soccer games began with kneeling protests. Oddly, no photos from the U.S-Sweden or Britain-Chile matches have been posted on any social media channels.
Britain’s team promised to kneel in protest of discrimination and inequality, which according to the International Olympics Committee President, Thomas Bach, “… is no violation of Rule 50. That is expressively what is allowed in these guidelines”.
More guidelines were created earlier this month in order to clarify what was included in the athletes’ freedom of expression during the Tokyo Olympics.
If an athlete or team wishes to express a political gesture, it must meet four criteria.
The gesture cannot be targeted at certain people, countries, or an organization. It must also follow the Fundamental Principles of Olympism and cannot be disruptive. Lastly, the gesture cannot be something that is already banned by a nation’s Olympic Committee.
If an expression violates these guidelines, athletes can face potential IOC discipline, for example, a hearing.
While protests are allowed during an introduction or before a game, they are barred from ceremonies, the medal stand, and the Olympic Village.