The IOC outlined before the Tokyo Olympics Games were move back to 2021 that kneeling would not be allowed but has softened its stance in light of the NFL changing it’s position following the Black Lives Matter protests in the US and athletes across other sports, including football, also showing solidarity with the movement by taking a knee.
The International Olympic Committee will now consult with athletes before making a ruling on whether medal winners will be allowed to kneel on the podium as an anti-racist gesture.
After the IOC executive board reaffirmed its commitment to non-discrimination, the president, Thomas Bach, said: “We have fully supported the initiative for the IOC Athletes’ Commission to have dialogue with athletes around the world to explore different ways for how Olympic athletes can express their support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic charter in a dignified way.
“We also agree with the athletes commission that we must always respect the Olympic spirit. This means we must make a difference between such support for the principles enshrined in the Olympic charter and potentially divisive demonstrations.”
When pressed, Bach said: “I will not pre-empt in any way this consultation the athletes’ commission will have. It would not be fair if now I make a statement and they are giving directions or instructions in this respect.
“Let the athletes’ commission and the athletes discuss it themselves and then come up with the relevant proposals.”