Abolish Rule 50.2 (Part 1 of the the Rule 50 series on http://www.derballluegtnicht.com)
In 2019, athlete protests brought attention to another polarizing issue about the Olympic Charter. Protests such as those by U.S. athletes Race Imboden and Gwen Berry, who showed solidarity with Colin Kaepernick’s and John Carlos/Tommie Smith’s political protests against racism and police violence at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, illustrate that the Olympic movement is internally divided on how to deal with political statements and actions.
The two athletes’ protests against racism and demands for social justice were timely, as there was a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas during the Pan Am Championships that killed twenty-three people, mostly Latinos.
Moreover, the two were protesting at a time when the U.S. was experiencing a rise in racist and xenophobic attacks and unchecked rhetoric that reached the highest levels of institutional power, the president of the United States. Following their protests, both athletes faced significant criticism from their governing body (see Draves, 2021). Athletically, they were placed on probation for one year after the competitions, a unique occurrence.