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IOC Can’t Stop Athletes From ‘Knee’ At Tokyo Games, Says Athlete

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IOC Can’t Stop Athletes From ‘Knee’ At Tokyo Games, Says Athlete

British Olympic track cycling gold medalist Callum Skinner said on Friday that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would not be able to stop athletes from protesting at this year’s Tokyo Games.

IOC Rule 50 prohibits any form of “political, religious or racial manifestation or propaganda” at the venues and in any other Olympic area.

On Wednesday, the Games body concluded that the rule should be upheld following a consultation process that began in June 2020 and involved more than 3,500 athletes.

IOC Athletes’ Commission chief Kirsty Coventry, who led the rule 50 review, said the majority of athletes they spoke to during the consultation process supported her.

In the context of the “Black Lives Matter” movement protesting racial injustice, however, there have been growing calls for a change to this rule that would allow athletes to protest.

Skinner, who won team sprint gold at Rio 2016, told UK newspaper The Times that the IOC seemed “determined to exercise control when it hasn’t.”

“If an athlete wants to take the knee, he will take the knee,” he said.

Skinner, who retired in 2019 and is a member of the Global Athlete group, which aims to “create positive change in global sport”, said standing up for equality was not a political act.

“People are frustrated with ‘Black Lives Matter’ because they see it as a political movement, but deep down it is fighting for equality and this is something that the Olympics should support 100%,” he added.

American hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who was put to the test after raising her fist during the medal presentation at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, also criticized the IOC.

“They will not be the pioneers of real change,” she said. “They have their own agenda and that is to protect the billions of dollars they generate from the Olympics.”

The Tokyo Olympics, delayed for a year due to the pandemic, are expected to start on July 23. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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