In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, U.S. steeplechaser Colleen Quigley touched on the Black Lives Matter movement and said she and some of her USATF teammates have come up with a workaround regarding the IOC’s Rule 50. This rule says athletes cannot engage in protests at the Games, and it hasn’t been well received by Olympians. The past couple of months have seen a lot of protests as people around the world fight against racism and for social change. Many athletes have spoken up, too, but with the Tokyo Olympics just a year away, the IOC is standing by Rule 50. Quigley says the solution could be simple: American athletes shouldn’t protest on their own, they should all protest together.
Hey @Olympics!! Remember this photo that you post at least once a year of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising a fist at the '68 Olympics? Guess what you can't use this photo to make your organization look good if you also ban and punish athletes who protest!! pic.twitter.com/6MrokwBC9q
— Gabriela DeBues-Stafford (@gstafford13) June 10, 2020
In the IOC’s Rule 50 Guidelines, it is stated that “it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.” It goes on to say that “it is a fundamental principle that sport is neutral and must be separate from political, religious or any other type of interference.”
Protests are not permitted at any Olympic venue, including on the field of play, in the Olympic Village or on the podium. The statement says disciplinary action will be “taken on a case-by-case basis” for any athletes who break Rule 50.
All in it together
In her interview with Yahoo, Quigley said there has been talk between USATF athletes who have said, “Hey, what if we all [protest]?” She noted that the U.S. team makes up some of the fastest athletes in the world, and because of that, they have some power. “Are they really going to suspend every single member of the USATF?”
It would certainly be interesting to see how the IOC would react if an entire team of athletes protested. And not just any team, but as Quigley pointed out, one of the strongest teams at the Olympic Games.
“I’m really excited to see how that comes to fruition next summer when the world is looking at us.”