Tokyo Olympics: IOC gives athletes more opportunities to express their opinions

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After launching in recent months a consultation with 3,500 athletes, the IOC formalized this Friday the guidelines concerning the possibilities of athletes to express their opinions during the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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A few weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, which will take place from July 23 to August 8, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave recommendations on Friday to athletes concerning “the possibilities open to them to express their opinion” during the competition.

The IOC first of all recalls that it is keen on “sport neutrality” during these Olympic Games, while still offering athletes the opportunity to express themselves. “When expressing their opinion, athletes are expected to comply with applicable laws, expresses the IOC directive. It should be recognized that any behavior and / or expression of opinion which constitutes or is indicative of an act of discrimination , hatred, hostility or potential violence, for whatever reason, is contrary to the fundamental principles of Olympism. “

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A consultation with 3,500 athletes

These new guidelines are the result of “extensive consultation” carried out over the past few weeks with athletes. In the event that athletes do not respect the stated rules, disciplinary measures may be pronounced by the IOC against them.

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Athletes will therefore have the opportunity to express their opinion in mixed areas, by addressing the media, during interviews or at press conferences in particular. But also on social networks, insofar as these opinions have “no disruptive effect”. For example: “expressing your opinion during the interpretation of the national anthem and / or the presentation of another athlete or a team, as this may interfere with the concentration and / or the preparation of the athlete or team in question for the competition, indicates the IOC. Or interfere physically with the presentation of another athlete or team or with the protocol itself – for example by deploying a flag, banner, etc .; carry – or take the risk of causing – physical harm to people or property, etc.). “

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The consultation was launched in June 2020 with more than 3,500 athletes representing more than 185 countries as well as the 41 Olympic sports, also ensuring a “perfectly balanced gender” representation. “The consultation received the support of the Athletes’ Commissions of the Continental Associations of NOCs and the World Olympians Association (WOA)”, concludes the IOC.

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