The IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC) has received the statement from the Team USA Council on Racial and Social Justice which elaborates on racial and social problems in their country. This statement will be taken into consideration among the other feedback that it has received and continues to receive from the athletes of the other 205 NOCs.
The IOC AC consultation process is currently underway, with a qualitative discussion with NOCs and International Federation (IF) ACs, as well as a quantitative survey among the athletes of all 206 NOCs. It is important to note that, as part of the qualitative consultation, the IOC AC already held a joint meeting with the USOPC Athlete Advisory Council on 25 June.
We have also received further feedback from athletes from many other NOCs, such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Mexico and Nigeria, to name but a few. Many others have also expressed their opinion in quantitative regional surveys or in qualitative consultations. Much of this feedback is available publicly.
While the consultation is still ongoing, from what we have heard so far through the qualitative process, the majority:
- emphasise the right of free speech which is respected at the Olympic Games; and
- express support for preserving the ceremonies, the podium and the field of play.
Many have also recognised the practical question of how to choose between the opinions of hundreds of issues from different angles across the world. From the work we have done so far, we can see that it would be very difficult to make such a judgment without dividing the athlete community across all 206 NOCs.
The IOC AC’s mission is to represent the views of all athletes from all 206 NOCs and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team. It is important that we follow the consultation framework that we outlined at the start of the process and allow for all views and recommendations to be given to the IOC AC. After this, the IOC AC will assess all the feedback received before providing its recommendations to the IOC Executive Board.
While there are many opportunities that exist for athletes within the current Rule 50 to express their view at Games time, be it in press conferences, interviews, on social media or in team meetings, the purpose of the ongoing consultation by the IOC AC is to be creative in finding solutions and to ensure that its recommendations are fully informed.
Kirsty Coventry – Chair, IOC Athletes’ Commission