Olympic Games Tokyo 2021: Games with freedom of expression: the long way from Black Power to Black Lives Matter

Athletes gathered to demand change, and kneeling on the ground in Tokyo ultimately did not allow.

Tommy Smith on the podium during the 1968 Mexico Games.AP

of black Power By black lives matterFrom 1968 to 2021, half a century has taken the Olympic movement to reconcile its fundamental principles with a key right of the society in which it was born: freedom of expression. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has implemented Rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits athletes from organizing demonstrations of a political or social nature, primarily allowing them to express their opinion verbally or by gesture at certain venues. gives exception though podium continues

It does so after gathering the demands of athletes, it’s true. But, above all, he does so to prevent being taken out of reality and to avoid the implication that the Olympics will have to be sanctioned by everyone who has put their knee on the ground in Tokyo, as in He did it with black gloves from Mexico. This is enough with covid.

tommy smith or Juan Carlos, raised fists on the 100-meter podium, paid dearly for his vendetta against racial discrimination in cramped sixties, with the suspension of the license to compete and boycott. Already in the 21st century, I too hurt to kneel first on the ground Colin Kaepernick, Then Quarterback Of the 49ers, in the US Donald Trump, the America first, but not for everyone.

Drive belt

the brutal death of George Floyd, sank under the knee of a policeman in Minneapolis, globalized the gesture, performed in all games and was even promoted by selectors like English Gareth Southgate During the last European Championship. To ban it in Tokyo would take the Games to the Middle Ages, which is the exact opposite of the avant-garde. Pierre de Coubertin, for whom sport was a belt for the transmission of values ​​in the society.

The need to update the standard 50.2, which had already generated much controversy with the Challenge of the Stars in Beijing 2008 Paula Radcliffe, was transferred to the IOC through the Athletes Commission, headed by the former swimmer Kirsty Coventry. Mobilization began in the United States, with athletes expressing their opposition to their National Olympic Committee through an advisory council.

“The Olympic movement simultaneously honors athletes like John Carlos and Tommy Smith, while preventing today’s athletes from following their path,” said the letter, supported by Carlos himself. Jeeves went on and announced a consultation for 3,500 athletes from 185 countries and 41 sports, with a majority having a favorable response. It was a cry.

honor the celebrations

With the implementation, athletes in Tokyo will be able to express their political or social opinion to the media, whether in press conferences, interviews or meetings, in their team meetings, through social networks and at any type of event . In addition to revealing gestures at the track or venue of the competition before the start of the test.

That is, before the final of 100 meters, there will be no penalty on the knee on the ground. In return, they promise to honor disputed competitions and ceremonies, including for the presentation of medals and the usual venue of the Olympic Village, according to Coventry.

To the extent of the few moments in which the IOC seeks to keep the Olympic Liturgy immaculate, the censorship of violent, discriminatory or offensive opinions with certain groups or nationalities is added.

Olympic rings at IOC Headquarters.AFP

This movement of the IOC follows others carried out by sporting organizations such as UEFA, which also revised their statutes regarding the conflict caused by the performance of the ‘Stalades’ at Camp Nou, according to the Spanish courts, protected by freedom of expression. . However, the initiative in favor of the LGTBI collective once again showed the contrasts of the creature during the previous European Championship, not allowing the Allianz Stadium in Munich to be illuminated with the colors of the LGTBI flag in the match against Hungary, against which the law was enacted. Has been homosexuals, realizing it was a political provocation.

Similarly, this move beyond the IOC is not total, as it reserves some space, but it is a step. No one will be able to emulate Smith and Carlos on the podium in Tokyo, although they may be elsewhere. In Mexico, others do it with black socks, like bob beaman, or with a berry of the same color, such as Lee Evans. Wherever it is, something moves and, as Carlos himself said, “athletes will never be silent anymore.”