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  • IOC Athletes Commission Seeks Solutions to Rule 50


    (ATR) The IOC Athletes Commission is developing a set of guidelines to further inform and educate athletes about Rule 50, which prohibits demonstrations and protests at Olympic venues.
    Kirsty Coventry speaks in Doha (ANOC)

    IOC Athletes Commission chair Kirsty Coventry provided an update about communication and consultation with athlete representatives regarding the rule in the Olympic Charter, addressing NOC leaders at the XXIV ANOC General Assembly in Doha.

    The issue has once again become a contentious topic considering protests by athletes at the recent Pan American Games in Lima.

    Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

    Coventry informed that a conference call was recently conducted with athlete commission representatives from 60 NOCs.

    “There is a time and a place for athletes to make their voices heard with different opinions and different topics that they want to bring awareness to,” Coventry said, addressing NOC leaders in Doha.

    Race Imboden takes a knee at the Pan Am Games in Lima. (Getty Images)
    United States’ fencer Race Imboden and hammer thrower Gwen Berry used their medal ceremonies at the Pan American Games to draw attention to social issues in the U.S. that they felt are spiraling out of control. Imboden took a knee and Berry raised her fist. Both athletes could represent the U.S. less than a year from now at the Tokyo Olympics, where any similar protests would be seen by a much wider global audience.

    Regarding potential future athlete protests, Coventry said the athlete commission representatives on the conference call "agreed it should not be on the field of play or during medal ceremonies and I think that was really special.

    “Now we’re working together to put some guidelines together around the rules to express very clearly to athletes where we need to represent and keep certain areas and medal ceremonies free from protests."

    Social media and the IOC driven Athlete365 website will also be utilized as part of the continuing process to discuss and further educate athletes. A Q&A was also conducted with athletes regarding the hot topic.

    Coventry noted that through further consultation with athletes and athletes commissions, specific guidelines are being crafted. The final results are expected to be distributed to all NOCs by the end of 2019.

    Written and reported by Brian Pinelli in Doha, Qatar

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