Team USA hopefuls at the Olympic trials will be allowed to raise their fists and kneel during the national anthem, officials have announced.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said this week that athletes will not be sanctioned for participating in certain racial and social protests while competing for spots on the team, despite longstanding bans against protests at the official games.
In a nine-page document released Tuesday, the committee said that permitted forms of demonstration include holding up a fist, kneeling during the anthem and wearing hats or face masks with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” or words such as “equality” or “justice.”
The new guidance said the demonstrations must be “advancing racial and social justice; or promoting the human dignity of individuals or groups that have historically been underrepresented, minoritized, or marginalized in their respective societal context.”
However, no hate symbols will be allowed — nor will actions that would prevent others from competing, such as laying down in the middle of the track.
The document also stressed that it can’t prevent other groups, such as the International Olympic Committee, from punishing athletes from demonstrating.
“Each Participant must make their own personal decision about the risks and benefits that may be involved,” the new guidance says.
The International Olympic Committee, which runs the games, published guidelines in January that barred athletes from using the 2021 Tokyo games for political protests.
Those guidelines don’t get into what the punishment will be for those who break the rules, saying only “disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis.”
“We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world,” the IOC said.
“This is why it is important, on both a personal and global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.”
Two US athletes were placed on probation for one year after protests at the Pan-American Games in Peru in August: Race Imboden, a fencer, for kneeling, and hammer thrower Gwen Berry, for raising a fist.
With Post wires