Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado took a knee and raised a clenched black power fist at the end of her floor routine, paying tribute to leftist anti-police activist group Black Lives Matter while skirting the International Olympic Committee (IOC) protest rules.
Alvarado, the first gymnast from Costa Rica to qualify for the Olympics, confirmed to The Associated Press that she was honoring the BLM moment.
“Because we’re all the same,” the 18-year-old gymnast said. “We’re all beautiful and amazing.”
According to NBC, Alvarado further explained on the GymCastic podcast the significance of the protest: “Alvarado said she felt that if she did ‘something that brings everyone together,’ it adds to the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect and recognizing everyone has the same rights.”
— Dr. Daniel Lee, DSW, MSW 💯 (@danielwaynelee0) July 27, 2021
The IOC has barred political protesting on the medal podium, though athletes are allowed to protest before their events, matches, and games.
Alvarado’s protest is being called an IOC policy “loophole.”
“Because she incorporated the gesture as an artistic element in her floor routine, the governing organization might not be able to enforce any sort of penalty against her,” USA Today noted.
Women’s soccer players from numerous countries have included their own protests, too.
All 22 players on Team USA took a knee to protest alleged rampant racism in the U.S. in solidarity with BLM before their 3-0 loss to Sweden last week. Sweden’s players, too, took a knee during pregame.
Women’s soccer players from Chile, New Zealand, and Great Britain took a knee before their games, as well.
Star forward and captain for the U.S. women’s soccer team Megan Rapinoe stood by the team’s kneeling protest.
“It’s an opportunity for us to continue to use our voices and use our platforms to talk about the things that affect all of us intimately in different ways,” Rapinoe said, according to The Associated Press.
“We have people from Team USA, from all over the country, from all backgrounds, and people literally from all over the world for every other team so I obviously encourage everyone to use that platform to the best of their ability to do the most good that they possibly can in the world, especially as all eyes are on Tokyo these next couple weeks,” she continued.
“We’re on the global stage, with the world’s media, and eyeballs and people’s attention, all drawn to one place with a collection of incredible athletes from all over the world, who care a lot about what they’re doing here in Tokyo in terms of their sport, and who care a lot about a lot of other things.”