IOC to show Olympic athletes taking a knee in feeds after criticism

Tokyo, July 22, (dpa/GNA) - Athletes taking a knee will be shown in International Olympic Committee (IOC) videos at the Tokyo Olympics from now on after the protest was not shown in first events.

Players from five teams had taken a knee in the first women's football group games on Wednesday but the scenes were not shown in IOC news feeds and on its social media channels.

It was also announced on Thursday that German women's field hockey player Nike Lorenz will be allowed to wear a rainbow-coloured captain's armband during Olympic matches.

The exclusion of the kneeling players in the feeds had led to criticism, and the IOC pledged on Thursday to change this, saying: “The IOC is covering the Games on its owned and operated platforms and such moments will be included as well.”

The IOC is for the first time allowing athletes to express their personal feelings in Tokyo, with gestures such as taking a knee or raising a fist allowed shortly before the competition as well as expressing themselves during interviews and on their social media channels.

Protests are not allowed at ceremonies including victory ceremonies or in the Olympic village, and offenders face sanctions including expulsion from the Games.

However, sports federations can veto such expressions, and the governing swim body FINA is not allowing any such gestures poolside it its Olympic events.

The rules of the governing field hockey body have meanwhile made it possible for Lorenz to continue wearing her rainbow armband during Olympic matches, after a successful appeal from the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and its hockey federation.

"We are happy that we found a joint way to allow the hockey team to make a socio-political statement," DOSB president Alfons Hoermann said.

Lorenz has been using a rainbow-coloured armband for months at Germany Games, including at the European championships.

Rainbow colours are a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities.