The International Olympic Committee (IOC) stands firm in its decision to ban any sort of political, idealogical or social form of protest at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Separating the political from the competition
In other words, sporting apparel with the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' as well as raising fists or taking a knee during ceremonies or on playing fields will not be permitted. Sanctions will be given to those who break the rule. No details have been specified as to the punishment received by athletes who break the rule.
In many parts of the world—and especially in the US—athletes have actively voiced their views on police brutality with some showing solidarity by taking a knee during national anthem renditions. But the IOC's Athletes' Commission chief Kirsty Coventry said that after having spoken to several athletes about the rule, a majority of them were in favour or separating politics from the sporting competition. She explained that:
I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that. That is how I still feel today. A very clear majority of athletes said that they think it's not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play, at the official ceremonies or at the podium.
So our recommendation is to preserve the podium, field of play and official ceremonies from any kind of protest or demonstrations or acts perceived as such.
Some slogans will be permitted
However, some exceptions have been made by allowing athletes to don clothing with slogans, such as: 'peace', 'respect', 'inclusion', 'equality and 'love'. In addition, the phrase 'BLM' will be permitted during press conferences, interviews and team meetings.
The Tokyo Olympic games will be going ahead this summer after having been postponed last year in light of the coronavirus pandemic.