The IOC is holding fast to its infamous Rule 50, which bans protests and demonstrations at all Olympic venues including on the field of play, in the Olympic Village, during Olympic medal ceremonies and during the opening, closing and other official ceremonies.
The postponed 2020 Summer Olympics will begin July 23, 2021 in Tokyo. Athletes may be considered in violation of Rule 50 for any of the following:
Displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands
Gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling
Refusal to follow the ceremonies protocol.
“A very clear majority of athletes said that they think it’s not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play, at the official ceremonies or at the podium,” IOC Athletes’ Commission chief Kirsty Coventry said.“So our recommendation is to preserve the podium, field of play and official ceremonies from any kind of protest or demonstrations or acts perceived as such.”
Despite a long history of attempting to silence political activism, acts of civil disobedience at the World Games have gone on to become moments of great historical significance.
On October 16, 1968, two African-American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, each raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
In addition, Smith, Carlos, and Australian silver medalist Peter Norman wore human-rights badges on their jackets.