Adam Peaty Responds: Sport Is A Powerful Vehicle For Athlete Protests

Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

Adam Peaty Responds: Sport Is A Powerful Vehicle For Athlete Protests

Adam Peaty has reasserted his insistence that athletes should have the right to protest at the Olympics after the IOC indicated it will punish those who do so on the podium or the field of play.

The Olympic 100m breaststroke champion had welcomed Team GB’s declaration that it would not obstruct athletes who wish to protest in Tokyo. He was joined by British teammate Duncan Scott who – along with Australian Mack Horton – took a stand for his beliefs when he refused to share a podium with Sun Yang at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju.

Peaty spoke last month at the unveiling of the Team GB swimmers who will compete at the Games in Japan, saying:

“People should have the right to protest and have the right to do it where they want. I don’t think they should be fined for expressing their opinion.

“I’ve always had a certain belief that the Olympics and sport in general shouldn’t be political.

“But there are so many issues in the world, you don’t want to take away the right of those athletes to protest.”


Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

The International Olympic Committee’s Rule 50 forbids any kind of “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” including on the field of play, at the Olympic Village, during medal ceremonies and the opening, closing and other official ceremonies.

The IOC says the ban will remain in place in Tokyo after a survey found the majority of athletes were in favour of retaining it.

A guest commentator on Swimming World on Thursday expressed his view in a piece headlined: “Don’t Mix My Olympics With Politics.”

In the article which addressed Peaty, Charles Hartley expressed his opinion that protests could alienate people who are looking for a form of escapism from politics when they tune into the Games.

He also said the number of protests could escalate and obscure the competition with a precedent being set for the wider working world outside sport.

Peaty responded on Friday on social media, saying:

“This was pretty much directed solely at me and my opinion yet hundreds/thousands of athletes have the same viewpoint. The thing is, the issue is not about me. So many athletes at the games will be coming from countries and under governing bodies rife with corruption, racism and inequality to name a few.

“Of course that athlete should have the opportunity to protest if there are so many issues. If we all fall in line and never question anything, these issues only get worse and the people causing them get even more power.

“Yes, I agree there is a time and a place to protest but sport is one of the most powerful vehicles for a lot of these athletes to be heard.

“For example, If everyone you raced had been doping and somehow 100% knew, you wouldn’t stay silent.”

Michael Gunning, who represented Jamaica at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, added his voice, saying:

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3 years ago

Bravo Adam Peaty!

3 years ago

Adam Peaty. The man, the legend!

3 years ago

You are so right, you are an individual first.

3 years ago

Ego out of control. The man who said the country ‘deserves’ his win because of the pandemic? Get over yourself!

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