The American hammer throw athlete Gwen Berry, a contender for a medal at the Summer Olympics, has already raised her fist on a medal podium at a competition, and at the selection meet for the U. Olympic track team she turned away as the national anthem was played, drawing worldwide attention and debate. Olympic officials, bowing to a surge of athlete activism, are fine with that. The International Olympic Committee, however, is not. With the July 23 opening of the Tokyo Games nearing, American and international Olympic officials are disputing where to draw the line for protests as athletes across the sports world, however contentious the issue has become, leverage their power and influence to promote social and political causes. A number of athletes are signaling the possibility of testing the limits with some kind of gesture at the Games.
The intuition is pretty straightforward. A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece for Businessweek about how, with certain modern bubbles and manias, the trajectory went exactly backwards. Instead of starting with elites and filtering down to the proverbial shoeshine boys, it was the shoeshine boys who got there first. The pros got there later. It first sprang to life a decade ago while the world was collapsing. When Wall Street finally arrived at the party, it was one of the last to show up.
She Protested on a Medal Podium. Will the Olympics Ban That?
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