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17 Jul, 2020 14:16

'It will cast gloom over the Olympic spirit': Russian athletes speak out against potential 'take a knee' protests at Games

'It will cast gloom over the Olympic spirit': Russian athletes speak out against potential 'take a knee' protests at Games

The Athletes’ Commission of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) has spoken out against the idea of allowing political demonstrations during Olympic competitions, emphasizing that it will mar the games.

Lada Zadonskaya, vice chairman of the ROC’s Athletes’ Commission said that Russia voiced its stance on potential reforms during a conference call with the International Olympic Committee.

READ MORE: Athletics Association vows to reform Olympic protest rule, claims it is ‘basic human right’ for athletes to take a knee

On behalf of ROC’s Athletes' Commission I’m completely against any potential reforms in regards to Rule 50,” Zadonskaya said.

We are confident that political expressions (if allowed) will mar the atmosphere of the Olympic celebrations and cast gloom over the Olympic spirit.

Athletes have numerous opportunities to speak up on different topics, including political issues. But if they start doing it right at the Olympic Games they will spoil their colleagues’ celebrations.

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Those who fight for Olympic medals will not like their moment of glory to be marred (by protests). Why don’t we think about their rights?” she added.

In the wake of recent protests triggered by the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd various social rights groups have urged the IOC to amend its Rule 50 which prohibits political, racial and religious propaganda by Olympic competitors.

The newly-formed Athletics Association which represents the rights of track and field athletes said it will fight against the rule, outlining that taking a knee is one of the athlete’s basic rights to express themselves.

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