Despite the Olympics best attempts to stifle political demonstrations at the 2020 Tokyo games, international athletes have refused to stand down. 18 year old Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado ended her gymnastics floor routine on one knee, and with her right first raised in the air.
The first Costa Rican gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, Alvarado wasted no time putting her stamp onto the competition. She stated that she did it to highlight equal rights and treat all with respect.
“The importance of everyone [being] treated with respect and dignity and everyone having the same rights,” said Alvarado about her reasons for the pose. “We’re all the same and we’re all beautiful and amazing so I think that’s why I love to have it in my routine.”
The IOC has since lightened the restrictions for athletes, making it so that demonstrations are to be allowed on the field of play before the start of the competition, or during athlete introductions. A loophole in the rules also allowed Alvarado to incorporate the movement into her routine, and not be penalized for it.
It was clear that athletes wouldn’t lower their voices for long. Gwen Berry, the American hammer thrower, kicked off her Olympic campaign at the trials by turning her back on the American flag while on the podium. Naomi Osaka, the biggest star of the Japanese Olympic team, is well-known for her stance on social justice movements.
Entire teams got in on the protests as well, with several of the women’s soccer teams deciding to take a knee before their matches. The German women’s gymnastics team also decided to wear full-length unitards to protest sexualization in their sport.
Sources: BET.COM, USATODAY.COM, SPORTS.YAHOO.COM, REUTERS.COM