Sport wants to be neutral territory: neutral in relation to religion, neutral in relation to ideals, neutral in relation to geopolitical position. For Aya Sissoko, a former French boxer, athletes are fed the mantra: “neither religion nor politics“.
Thus, with its stance against the conflict in Ukraine, the IOC serves as proof of what it has tried to disprove for so many years: sport and politics are closely connected. After all, what better way to upset a president who puts sport at the center of his geopolitics than to exclude his country from all competitions, preventing it from showing the world a strong, militant and powerful Russia?
Article 50 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits “any political, religious or racial demonstration or propagandaduring the Olympic and Paralympic Games would no longer make sense. Aya Sissoko already said this in 2020, this charter is actually “desire to control bodies, control speech. Gaps would be allowed there, but it would simply not be possible next to each other. […] The fight unfolded due to the fact that athletes and athletes dared to break the existing rules.“.
We especially commemorate American sprinter Tommy Smith’s punch in the air at the 1968 Olympics and Colin Kaepernick’s knee on the ground in 2016 in protest against racial segregation and racist police violence, respectively.
We are expected to win medals. From the moment we decide to speak up and defend our rights, our words become inaudible.