IOC Says To No Protests

The IOC remains out of step with society.

Last December, it appeared that American Olympic athletes would be able to express their viewpoints and not worry about being subjected to some International Olympic Committee penalty that could see them lose the ability to compete in major events or harm them financially. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee decided it was not worth the effort to penalize athletes for stating their opinions or staging peaceful protests at Olympic events. But the IOC is not going to have any of that enlightened thinking. The IOC will not allow athletes protests in certain places on the Olympics grounds in Tokyo this summer. The IOC once barred Vancouver, British Columbia area libraries from hiring speakers who planned to criticize the Olympic movement as part of the 2010 host agreement.

Olympic Rule 50 states: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” The American committee’s change in thinking was not what the President of the IOC Thomas Bach had in mind for his group. In January, Bach said the Olympics “must never be a platform to advance political or any other potentially divisive ends”. Yet it has occurred in Olympics history.  In 1936, Adolf Hitler attempted to use the Berlin Games to legitimize his rule of Germany. In 1972, members of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s offshoot Black September took Israeli hostages in the Munich Olympics’ Village. Eleven would die. The Olympic movement threw out South Africa in 1964 because of apartheid. There was the African countries boycott of the 1976 Montreal Games. American President Jimmy Carter ordered a boycott of the 1980 Moscow Summer Games because the Soviet Union refused to leave Afghanistan. The Soviet Union did not go to the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games. The Olympics is a political platform.

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The Olympic Rings are displayed at the entrance of the IOC, International Olympic Committee headquarters during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP