The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is open to challenging IOC rules restricting protests at the Olympics.
The federation, in response to the nationwide
protests following George Floyd’s killing, said it “stands with those
who demand equality.”
After that, CEO Sarah
Hirshland announced the formation of an athletes’ working group that
will, among other things, look into changing the IOC’s longstanding rule
banning political protests on Olympic medals stands.
But Hirshland’s first
show of support for the athletes was immediately panned by Gwen Berry,
the African American hammer thrower who drew a 12-month probation from
the USOPC after she raised her fist on the medals stand last summer at
the Pan American Games.
And Hirshland’s second
move was criticized because of frayed communications between the
federation and its own athletes’ advisory council.
Berry’s complaint, in short, was that if the USOPC really stood with black athletes, it never would have sanctioned her.
The AAC is supposed to represent all U.S. Olympic athletes and has long struggled for an equal spot in the decision-making process.