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Podium protests BANNED at Tokyo & Beijing Olympics ‘to protect athletes from political interference & exploitation’

Podium protests BANNED at Tokyo & Beijing Olympics ‘to protect athletes from political interference & exploitation’
Athletes competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Beijing will be banned from protesting at the podium and on the playing field “to avoid the risk of politicization” of the events and protect athletes from “external pressure.”

The decision was made after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) consulted with the Athletes’ Commission, which conducted a poll involving over 3,500 future Olympic participants, representing more than 185 countries.

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More than two-thirds of the athletes who took part in the poll said, “it is not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play (70% of respondents), at official ceremonies (70% of respondents) or on the podium (67% of respondents).”

By prohibiting podium protests, the IOC said it wants to “avoid the risk of politicization of the athletes and the risk that athletes may be put under external pressure.

The Olympic governing body also stressed it wants to guard future competitors from “potential consequences of being placed in a position where they may be forced to take a public position on a particular domestic or international issue, regardless of their beliefs.”

The political neutrality of the Olympic Games is a way to protect athletes from political interference or exploitation,” the body said.

It was mentioned, however, that the IOC and the IOC Athletes’ Commission fully support athletes’ freedom of speech, allowing them to express their views at the Olympic Games during press conferences and interviews, at team meetings and on digital or traditional media.

In the wake of recent protests in the US and the Black Lives Matter movement, various rights groups have urged the IOC to amend its Rule 50, which prohibits political, racial, and religious propaganda by Olympic competitors.

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The rule has come under fire from social rights advocates, who have called on the IOC to change its restrictions regarding protests and demonstrations.

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