In the wake of the debate over political markings, such as going down on one knee to show resistance to racism, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has invited individual nations’ athlete committees to comment on the so-called “Rule 50”.
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Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states that no form of demonstration or commercial, political or religious propaganda is permitted in any Olympic arena.
The Athletes’ Committee in Norway, led by the long-time cross-country skier Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, has concluded that it wants to keep the podium and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer and Winter Olympics free of political markings.
The committee justifies this, among other things, with the fact that it is afraid that an opening for political markings could lead to individual practitioners being pressured to mean things they do not stand for.
– We are concerned that Olympic athletes will continue to have full freedom of expression, also during the Olympics. At the same time, it is important to be aware that if it opens up to mark political positions, we must also accept that positions are marked that not all practitioners agree with. Practitioners may come under pressure from different groups or authorities to mark special political issues. . It will be a very demanding situation for the athletes who must carry such views, and for the other athletes on the podium, says committee leader Jacobsen.
– If changes are to be made to the IOC’s Rule 50, the podium and other ceremonies must be preserved as politically neutral. We will announce our position to the IOC’s Executive Committee.