2020 Summer Olympics Ban Slogan “Black Lives Matter” in Tokyo

With less than 80 days away, summer Olympics 2020 have pushed forward with their event. Located in Tokyo, Japan, the postponed Olympics are continuing their plan within the current pandemic. With the variety of social injustices around the world, Olympics will be banning any Black Lives Matter apparel.

Problematic Pressure

As the President of the Olympics of 2020 Seiko Hashimoto gives the approval, athletes feel the pressure to keep COVID-19 free. With multiple COVID tests on the way, participants are one positive test away from getting shut down. With the cautious decision of continuing, it is still possible for all athlete intense trainings could be a waste. Along with the pressure to keep safe, the stress of the inability to not express social injustice has arisen. Since the death of George Floyd in May of 2020, many have taken action to express the injustice with #BlackLivesMatter. Although this has been shocking news, it is not the first time that the Olympics established such boundaries. In 1968, U.S. Runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists after receiving medals, supporting black power against racism. This went against the Summer Olympics code and rulings.


Maintaining the protection of the Olympic games, the International Olympic Committee are continuing to ban any protests during the event. According to Fox 8 news, the slogan “Black Lives Matter” is prohibit from any athlete apparel. This ban includes their previous prohibitions of political, religious, or racial propagandas. Past protest prohibitions consist of kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem, risking their disqualification during any games. Although the IOC will allow peaceful slogans such as “equality”, “respect” etc., no confirmation has been said regarding any violations. The Committee explains that they will be taking each violation in a case-by-case decision. According to TMZ Sports, “BLM” and other slogans regarding social injustice protests will be permissible during press conferences.

Olympians Thoughts

Along with not having an audience during the games this year, this ruling has made audiences upset. Last year, The IOC conducted a poll review of 3,500 athletes relating to the situation. This results in a majority of athletes supporting the continuation of this ban. About 70% of athletes deem inappropriate demonstration during the competition, while 67% believe it is improper on the medal stand. IOC Athletes Commission Chief Kristy Coventry claims, “I would not want something to distract from my competition and take away from that.” She ends, “That is how I still feel [right now].” Coventry continues to confirm the majority of athletes do not agree with the expression of these views anytime competing.

As the summer approaches, the 2020 Olympics begins on July 23, 2021.