The U.S. is pressing to allow protests at the Games. Is the Olympic movement over?

Events in Belarus can make the occasion for the abolition of the most important rule banning any political propaganda at the Olympics. Crazy 2020 has reached the unshakable Olympic movement.

One of his principles was apoliticism – it was always or almost always followed. No wonder the Olympic Charter number 50 even has a crucial article, according to which “any demonstration or propaganda of a political, religious and racial nature” is strictly prohibited at the Olympics.

But now there is a high probability that this important rule will be repealed. Black Lives Matter activists and other human rights activists are set to push through changes to the Olympic Charter. And then at the Games in Tokyo, the audience will see the kneeling, and raised fists, and political stripes on the uniform and banners in the stands.

Is the Olympic movement going to end?

America is a major activist

The 50th article of the rules of the Olympic Charter has long sat in a lump in the throat of fighters for all the good and against all the bad. Americans are particularly active. Casey Wasserman, head of the organizing committee for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, called for the repeal of this rule in August 2020. He sent a letter to the head of the IOC, Thomas Bach, urging him to cancel the article urgently.

The IOC has always held on to its apolitical nature. At least on paper. And in January 2020, even tightened the rules, prohibiting athletes to use armbands or stripes with any political slogans. Such actions include large monetary fines and even disqualification from competitions.

But much has changed since the murder of African-American George Floyd in the U.S. this summer. Floyd resisted arrest and was strangled by a security guard. The killing sparked mass protests and pogroms across America and parts of Europe and led to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Supporters of the movement hold all sorts of protests. The simplest and most harmless is kneeling. In American sports leagues, this action has become commonplace. Americans followed the example in some sports in Western Europe.