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Olympic organisers to allow limited athlete protests in Tokyo


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Athletes at the Tokyo Olympic Games look set to be given some leeway to protest by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). 

Ahead of last year's postponement of the Games, the IOC warned that "Gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling" or not adhering to medal ceremony protocols could result in an athlete being punished.

They had described actions like taking a knee or holding up a raised fist as "divisive disruption".

The IOC are covered by Rule 50 of their code which outlaws "demonstrations of “political, religious or racial propaganda” on Olympic sites.

However, Insidethegames reports that the IOC are climbing down from their position.

They say the IOC's Athletes' Commission is discussing whether to allow protests at specific times and places during the games.

Athletes could be allowed take a knee or raise a fist when announced at their platform at the aquatic centre, for instance, or when lining up before football matches.

Protests during medal ceremonies or in the athletes' village will remain off-limits for protests.

The Athletes' Commission held a call to discuss such issues on Friday, and any changes to Rule 50 would still require approval from the IOC Executive Board.

The move will bring back memories of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, when 200m medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos were kicked out of the Olympic Village of raising gloved fists during their medal ceremony. Famously, the gloves had been given to them by other man on the podium - silver medalist Peter Norman.

The opening ceremony for the XXXII Olympiad gets underway on Friday July 23.

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