Lindsey Vonn has backed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recent move to ban podium protests at the upcoming Tokyo 2021 (2020) Summer Olympics and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Following the BLM movement last year, the IOC had come under increasing pressure to relax Rule 50, which prevents athletes from demonstrating on the podium, the field of play, or at the opening and closing ceremonies.
After surveying 3,547 athletes from 185 countries, the IOC found that 70% agree that the field of play and/or official ceremonies were not an appropriate place for protest. In addition, 67% supported a ban on podium protests, including taking the knee or protesting against human rights abuses.
Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn agrees, saying the podium is a ‘sacred place.’
“…it is important to respect the other two people on the podium and that should be a sacred place where protests shouldn’t be held.”
– Lindsey Vonn
Vonn did add, however, that there are other opportunities at such globally watched events for athletes to bring attention to issues that are important to them.
“But there are other places within the Olympics to be able to state your opinion, and I think the Olympics in Beijing is just another example. There are people who want to boycott and stand up for something, and that brings attention to social issues that I think are important. I have respect for anyone that is willing to go out on a limb and say how they feel to the world – that takes some gonads.”
– Lindsey Vonn
In a recent interview, Mikaela Shiffrin said she shouldn’t have to choose between her ‘morals’ and her ‘job’ when asked about the rumored discussions for the US to pull out of the Beijing Games over alleged human rights abuse. There had been a discussion of a boycott against the games in 2022 due to China’s policy on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the western region, Xinjiang. The policy was deemed as “genocide” by the US Government. Beijing has denied this and is claiming it is politicizing sports. This policy puts athletes in an uncomfortable position in an event “that is supposed to bring the world together.” In the CNN Interview, Shiffrin says:
“And you certainly don’t want to be put in the position of having to choose between human rights like morality versus being able to do your job, which on the other hand can bring light to some issues or can actually bring hope to the world at a very difficult time.”