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Kneeling Olympians will be shown in highlights, social media, IOC says

The Hill logo The Hill 7/22/2021 Olafimihan Oshin
a close up of a sign: Kneeling Olympians will be shown in highlights, social media, IOC says © getty Kneeling Olympians will be shown in highlights, social media, IOC says

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said protesting athletes who kneel will be shown in highlights and on social media, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

"The IOC is covering the Games on its owned and operated platforms and such moments will be included as well," the committee said.

The decision amounts to a relaxation of Olympic Charter Rule 50, which was written as a response to Team USA sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

The two Black men famously protested at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics by bowing their heads and raising one arm and fist high with a black glove during the playing of the U.S. national anthem.

The IOC disallowed protests with Charter Rule 50, but the new guidance will allow athletes to take a knee or raise a fist during pre-game or pre-race introductions. The IOC will still punish athletes who protest on the podium.

The IOC also said that hundreds of millions of viewers would see footage of the protests through their broadcasting partners, adding that networks can use those images "as they deem fit."

Various athletes have knelt in support of racial justice, including the U.S. and Great Britain women's soccer teams.

The Australian national women's soccer team also posed with a flag of the country's indigenous people, the AP reported.

The committee's own athlete commission had said they don't want distractions on their field play, after two reviews of Rule 50 in 18 months, the AP noted.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony begins on Friday.

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