Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado let it be known that her support lies with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Alvarado ended her floor routine at the Tokyo Olympics Sunday night by taking a knee and raising her fist to the air, a move she told reporters afterward that she had begun choreographing last year as the world was swept by demonstrations in the wake of the death of George Floyd. She is also the first Costa Rican gymnast to qualify for the Olympics.
Back in May, the International Olympics Committee created Rule 50, which forbade any athletes to make “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” on the medal podium, the field of play, or the official ceremonies. Since Alvarado made her tribute on the field of play, which goes against the rules of the IOC, many are wondering if she will get barred, and some outlets are predicting the unlikelihood of her facing repercussions.
Just days before the Olympics, the IOC released another statement on July 2, which announced the implementations in their Rule 50 regulations. The rules state that athletes were allowed to “express their views” on the field of play “prior to the start of the competition (i.e. after leaving the “call room” (or similar area) or during the introduction of the individual athlete or team) provided that the expression.”
This is allowed as long as the athletes’ demonstration is not disruptive and does not cause any physical or mental interference (concentration) with any of the demonstrator’s competitors.
Despite her routine not qualifying her for the finals, 18-year-old Alvarado says she made the gesture in order to promote equality of rights among all people and unity. Alvarado told the podcast Gymcastic, “I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together, and you see that here, like ‘Yes, you’re one of mine, you understand the importance of treating everyone with respect and dignity and everyone having the same rights because we’re all the same and we’re all beautiful and amazing.” She added, “so I think that’s why I love to have that in my routine.”
She scored a 12.166 in the routine.