Written by Brooke Thompson
This year’s Olympics in Tokyo hosts a variety of newly-introduced regulations, including a rule that athletes will not be allowed to take a knee on the field and if the International Olympic Committee receives its wish, there will also be no visible protests. The International Olympic Committee investigated political protests made by athletes and decided to publish new policies concerning when and how competitors can express political opinions.
According to these rules, the athletes are banned from making protests or demonstrations on the field of play, in the Olympic Village, during medal ceremonies or during the opening or closing moments of each game. In addition, the IOC has exasperated their policy against making any political claims in media gatherings, press conferences, interviews and on social media. The goal of the committee is to create union and maintain peace between the nations and in the events. The IOC believes that the key to doing so is to limit the use of political speech or protests within the Olympics.
A famous example of protest during the Olympics occured when American track and field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved fists on the podium to protest racism in America in 1968. Many people disagree with these new rules, stating the original spirit of the Olympics will not be in the same condition as it has been, ultimately creating a stiff environment for the athletes. If athletes act upon their disagreeance to the policies, they face three years of disciplinary action from the IOC and their sport’s international governing body.
Another critique of this plan would be that it limits people’s free expressions, failing to embrace athletes diverse opinions. Silencing these athletes and threatening to remove them from the Olympics is an extreme negative to the IOC’s scheme. The International Olympic Committee just wants to create a better environment and create serenity within the games and proposed this idea through banning freedom of political say and actions. Many may not agree with this new movement, but many organizations such as the US Olympic Committee, US Soccer, NFl and the NBA have all sought to crack down on political protests and are glad new rules are now reigning.