Costa Rican Gymnast Kneels and Raises Her Fist in Floor Routine in Honor of Black Lives Matter

In a nod to Black Lives Matter, Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado finished her floor exercise in Olympic qualifiers on one knee, head back and right fist pointing in the air.

The 18-year-old said the conclusion to her routine was choreographed as a tribute to the BLM movement that spread around the world after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis last summer.

Alvarado said Friday, after performing the same move during training, that she hoped to emphasize the importance of equal rights on the global stage and advocate for treating everyone with respect and dignity.

In a nod to Black Lives Matter, Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado finished her Olympic qualifying floor routine on one knee, her head back and her right fist raised straight in the air.

Luciana Alvarado, of Costa Rica, performs her floor exercise routine during the women's artistic gymnastics qualifiers at the 2020 Summer Olympics

Luciana Alvarado, of Costa Rica, performs her floor exercise routine during the women’s artistic gymnastics qualifiers at the 2020 Summer Olympics

The 18-year-old said the conclusion to her routine was choreographed as a tribute to the BLM movement that spread around the world after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis.

The 18-year-old said the conclusion to her routine was choreographed as a tribute to the BLM movement that spread around the world after George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis.

“I feel like when you do something that brings everyone together, you know, and you see that here, like ‘Yeah, you’re one of mine, you understand things’, the importance of everyone being treated with respect and dignity and everyone has the same rights because we are all the same and we are all beautiful and amazing,” Alvarado told the GymCastic podcast.

The International Olympic Committee has introduced rules to try to limit protests by athletes. But Alvarado’s gesture, incorporated into her artistic routine, is unlikely to have any consequences.

Sunday’s routine will be her only turn on the Olympic stage: Alvarado scored a 12.166 on the floor and will not qualify to advance to the final.

Sunday's routine will be her only turn on the Olympic stage: Alvarado scored a 12.166 on the floor and will not qualify to advance to the final

Sunday’s routine will be her only turn on the Olympic stage: Alvarado scored a 12.166 on the floor and will not qualify to advance to the final

The IOC has made changes to rule 50 that bans political demonstrations at the Games, saying they will be allowed on the field as long as they arrive before the action starts. Players from five Olympic soccer teams knelt before their games on Wednesday’s opening night for that sport.

But the IOC has not lifted the ban on demonstrations at medal stands and has left some of the decision-making about punishment to individual sports federations.

In this 1968 file photo, showing gloved hands to the sky in racial protest, Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare down while playing the national anthem after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meters run at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City.  Australian silver medalist Peter Norman stands on the left

In this 1968 file photo, showing gloved hands to the sky in racial protest, Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare down while playing the national anthem after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meters run at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Australian silver medalist Peter Norman stands on the left

Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Gwen Berry, who have all protested onstage, are among more than 150 athletes, educators and activists who signed a letter on Thursday urging the IOC not to participate in the Tokyo Games. to punish.

The five-page letter, published on the eve of the Olympics, asks the IOC not to penalize athletes for kneeling or raising a fist, as Smith and Carlos did during the Mexico City Games in 1968.

Berry, the American hammer thrower who sparked much of this debate, has said she plans to use her Olympic platform to highlight racial inequality in the United States. She turned away from the flag as the national anthem sounded as she stood in the medal stand at the Olympic trials last month.

“We do not believe that the changes made reflect a commitment to freedom of expression as a fundamental human right, nor to racial and social justice in global sport,” the letter said, posted on the Muhammad Ali Center’s website. is signed by Ali’s daughter, four-time world boxing champion Lalia Ali.

The letter challenged the IOC’s long-held position that the Olympics should remain neutral, arguing that “neutrality is never neutral.”

“To remain neutral means to remain silent, and to remain silent means to continue to support injustice,” it said.

In this archive photo from October 17, 2018, John Carlos, left, and Tommie Smith pose for a photo in front of the statue honoring their iconic black-gloved protest during the 1968 Olympics, on the campus of San Jose State University in San Jose Smith, Carlos and Gwen Berry are among more than 150 educators, activists and athletes who signed a letter Thursday, July 22, 2021, urging the IOC not to punish participants who demonstrate at the Tokyo Games.

In this October 17, 2018 archive photo, John Carlos, left, and Tommie Smith pose for a photo in front of the statue honoring their iconic black-gloved protest during the 1968 Olympics, on the campus of San Jose State University in San Jose Smith, Carlos and Gwen Berry are among more than 150 educators, activists and athletes who signed a letter Thursday, July 22, 2021, urging the IOC not to punish participants who demonstrate at the Tokyo Games.

The letter also contradicted an athlete survey conducted by the IOC Athlete Commission that found broad support for rule 50. The commission cited the survey as a central reason for recommending that the rule be kept largely intact.

“The report does not provide information on racial/ethnic demographics or insight into the research tool used and steps taken to strengthen the validity and reliability of the data,” the letter said.

The largest cross-section of the 3,547 athletes surveyed came from China (14 percent), where protests were overwhelmingly frowned upon by those who answered the questions. American athletes were the second largest contingent to respond (7 percent), followed by athletes from Japan (6 percent).

Among the others who signed the letter was fencer Race Imboden, who, along with Berry, was put on trial by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for demonstrating at the medal stand at the 2019 Pan American Games. The USOPC later changed its stance. and will not penalize athletes who protest in Tokyo.

Also signed Harry Edwards, the longtime activist who organized the Olympic Human Rights Project, which led to the gestures in Mexico City by Smith and Carlos.

Gwendolyn Berry celebrates finishing third in the women's hammer throw final on day nine of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials by raising her fist

Gwendolyn Berry celebrates finishing third in the women’s hammer throw final on day nine of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials by raising her fist

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