The Limits of Celebrity Activism

The International Olympic Committee has announced strict new rules governing athlete protests for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

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Alyssa Naeher & Megan Rapinoe. October 4, 2018. (photo: Jamie Smed)

“We stand firmly against the growing politicization of sport because only in this way can we accomplish our mission to unite the world in peaceful competition.” — Thomas Bach, I.O.C. president.

Laying out its reasoning for the ban, the International Olympic Committee issued an impassioned defense of sport as a unifying force and a statement of unwavering support for Olympic athletes- regardless of their nationality or belief-system.

“The majority of athletes feel it is very important that we respect each other as athletes.” — Kristy Coventry, IOC Commission chair

Under the expanded and revised new rules, protests of a political nature are strictly verboten in the field of play, within the Olympic Village where athletes are housed and train during the games, and during ceremonies including opening, closing and medal ceremonies.

“So much being done about the protests. So little being done about what we are protesting about. We will not be silenced.” — Megan Rapinoe, Instagram.

Though what Rapinoe's hopes the organizing body of the international Olympic Games to do about her issues with social injustice and Donald Trump is hard to say.

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