Trials guidance outlines permissible racial and social justice demonstrations, expands pathways for athlete expression
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today published its U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Trials Participant Rules for Racial and Social Demonstrations. Developed to build on the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice’s recommendation
from December 2020, the USOPC’s rules outline criteria related to permissible and impermissible acts and expressions promoting racial and social justice at Trials venues.
In an open letter
sent today to Team USA athletes, USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland reinforced that the USOPC values the voices of Team USA athletes and believes that their right to advocate for racial and social justice as a positive force for change aligns with the fundamental values of equality that define Team USA and the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
Developed and finalized in collaboration with the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice’s Protests and Demonstrations steering committee, as well as the Team USA Delegation Rules Demonstrations Working Group that provided additional athlete and National Governing Body perspectives, the rules identify criteria related to permissible demonstrations that are aimed at advancing racial and social justice or promoting the human dignity of individuals or groups that have been historically underrepresented, minoritized or marginalized. The guidelines additionally outline criteria related to impermissible acts that advocate against people, their dignity or their rights, including – but not limited to – hate speech, racist propaganda or threatening, abusive or discriminatory remarks, or physical harm to others or to property.
Additionally, the rules outline possible sanctions for violations of the Trials demonstrations rules, and a dispute resolution process to ensure athlete participation rights are upheld.
The rules apply to all future U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Trials events and are not applicable to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, or any competition or forum outside of Trials venues. The International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee have jurisdiction over the Olympic and Paralympic Games and enforce Rule 50 and Section 2.2. The USOPC’s guidance for the Games will be published separately in the coming months once the IOC and IPC issue their policies.
The USOPC will work with athletes and NGBs to provide education materials and ensure current athletes are aware of the Trials demonstrations rules, including historical context, potential impacts, resources available and additional ways athletes can share their message. The Office of the Athlete Ombuds
is available to provide independent and confidential advice to athletes regarding their rights under these rules and to assist in the resolution of athlete concerns and disputes.
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