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IOC eases rules surrounding athlete protests

Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee has relaxed some of the rules surrounding athletes protesting at the Tokyo Olympics. 

Athletes will now be able to “express their views” before and after competing. Additionally, athletes will be allowed to take a knee before an event and express their views when speaking to the media, during news conferences and on social media. However, athletes cannot protest during events, victory ceremonies and at the Olympic Village. 

U.S. Olympic officials have repeatedly said that they will not punish or reprimand athletes who make political statements. 

The IOC has not yet revealed how far they will go if athletes break the rules in regards to protesting. They’ve never stripped medals but have sent athletes home from the games and permanently banned some for protest or perceived disrespectful behavior on the podium. Other instances have seen athletes go unpunished. 

Each situation, they’ve stated, will be evaluated individually. 

The Games are set to kick off July 21 with the soccer tournament while the Opening Ceremonies will be held July 23.