The world is gearing up for the 2020 Olympics, which is set to be held in Tokyo. The athletes are working hard, sponsors and media are putting in the final touches, and the Olympics themselves are making changes too. Specifically, banning any protests at the 2020 Tokyo Games. And not everyone is thrilled about this move.
There’s no question these past few years have been highly political. There have been several high-profile protests by multiple groups, including athletes, and the Olympics is doing what they think they need to protect athletes and attendees of the Games. Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) published their new guidelines on protests, precisely which type of protests will be banned at this year’s event.
According to Sports Illustrated, “the Olympic Charter’s Rule 50 prohibits athletes from making a political stand in the field of play, but they can still share political opinions on social media or in official media settings.”
More specifically, the IOC further defined what they say is a “protest,” including things like no hand gestures with political meanings, no disrespect at metal ceremonies, and no taking a knee. This is likely not going to sit well with everyone and one athlete has already spoken out and said she’s going to do what she needs to in order to change the world.
Megan Rapinoe, the decorated U.S. Women’s soccer athlete who helped the team win the World Cup, posted a message on her social media on Friday in response to the IOC banning protesting. “So much being done about the protests,” Rapinoe writes with an image attached showing hands with fists in the air. “So little being done about what we are protesting about. We will not be silenced.”
— Meg Linehan (@itsmeglinehan) January 10, 2020
Rapinoe has not been afraid to speak out against political issues, sexism or racism in the past, often using her platforms to fight for equality and draw attention to issues she’s passionate about. She was one of the first athletes to show solidarity for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthems, and she’s spoken up for others to join in during several award ceremonies, including her recent win of the Ballon d’Or reward.
The Olympics are set to begin on July 24 in Tokyo.