I know what you’re thinking: “I’m sick of everything being insufficiently political.”
Rest assured — I’ve got just the thing for that which ails you.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee has reached a cure-all conclusion: All future athletic participants will be allowed to protest social injustice.
As reported by The Hill, said activism need only meet the metrics of “peacefully” and “respectfully.”
Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states thusly:
No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.
But the new allowance serves as an amendment.
And it comes in part courtesy of The Athletics Association, a recently-raised organization of track and field competitors.
The group’s board called for change in July in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
Per ABC News, the Association claimed the ban was “preventing athletes from displaying Olympism at the Olympic Games.”
TAA insisted athletes should be able to “peacefully protest against social injustices in the world, without punishment or sanctions.”
Notably, the rule against rallying goes back to the most turbulent decade of the last century.
According to The Hill, in 1968, black athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos “protested poverty and racism in the United States by raising black-gloved fists to the air on the podium as they accepted their medals and the U.S. National Anthem was played.”
Five months ago, TAA lamented the lack of progress since:
For too long athletes have been powerless and without a real voice. 52 years after Tommie Smith and John Carlos…peacefully protested on the medal podium following the 200 metres, very little has changed.
The crew also declared — systemic racism is real and rampant:
52 years and the systemic racism that Tommie Smith and John Carlos were protesting against is still destroying communities and lives all over the world. And yet, athletes today have been warned that if they peacefully protest then they too will face sanctions and risk being disqualified or suspended.
We strongly believe that if athletes are protesting in the spirit of Olympism, then to punish them for these peaceful protests goes against what the Olympics is supposed to represent and encourage.
We also call on National Olympic Committees around the world to support the athletes that represent their countries on the world’s biggest sporting stage, by guaranteeing that any athlete that peacefully protests in the spirit of Olympism will face no sanctions or punishment.
Well, now it’s official.
In a new statement, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland announced, “First and foremost, it is critical to state unequivocally that human rights are not political. Peaceful calls for equity and equality must not be confused with divisive demonstrations.”
She also said she’s sorry the Committee previously condemned what it should’ve endorsed:
“For that, I apologize, and look forward to a future when rules are clear, intentions are understood, and voices are empowered. The USOPC’s decision recognized that Team USA athletes serve as a beacon of inspiration and unity globally, and their voices have and will be a force for good and progress in our society.”
These days, the world seems all about empowerment, which I’ve previously addressed.
But if there’s something more than power that’s being promoted, it’s politics.
And now you’ll find a combo deal, courtesy of the Olympic stage.
Either way, another Olympic-size announcement this week is sure to add some pep to the program.
I anxiously await a John Tesh-like score giving way to a B-boy beat — breakdancing will now be an Olympic sport:
I wrote of the possibility in February of last year:
Move over, Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, and Michael Phelps.
Usain Bolt, step aside.
Do you like to do the snake? Are you a master of the robot?
If so, you may have what it takes to juke around and proudly represent your country in a future summertime engagement at the worldwide Olympics.
As covered by RedState’s Brad Slager, today (Friday) marks the 39th anniversary of the USA’s “Miracle on Ice.”
Perhaps one day, we’ll be commemorating that time the U.S. triumphed over North Korea in a globally meaningful way, via the Miracle on A$$: