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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Olympics U-turn on showing athletes taking the knee despite historic Rule 50

Footage of Olympic athletes taking a knee in protest can now be included in official highlights after a ban lasting decades.

Recent changes to Rule 50 mean athletes are now allowed to make gestures on the field of play, provided they are done so without disruption and with respect for fellow competitors.

However, images of Olympic footballers kneeling on the pitch were excluded from official highlights reels and social media channels on the first day of play at the Tokyo Games.

Wednesday marked the first day it was allowed at the Olympics when players from five women’s football teams, including Britain, kneeled in support of racial justice.

The British and Chilean teams kneeled before the opening games followed by the US, Sweden and New Zealand players in later kickoffs.

Meanwhile, Australia players posed with a flag of the country’s indigenous people.

Despite such gestures now being permitted, the footage was not included in the official Tokyo Olympic highlights package provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Official Olympic social media channels also excluded pictures of the athlete activism.

In another U-turn, the IOC released a fresh statement on Thursday to say such moments will now be included in an apparent change of policy.

It said: “The IOC is covering the Games on its owned and operated platforms and such moments will be included as well.”

The Olympic body said hundreds of millions of viewers could have seen the footage watching networks that have official broadcast rights and “can use it as they deem fit”.

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