Olympian Damian Warner says ‘IOC on the wrong side of history’ with protest ban

Canadian decathlete Damian Warner warns that the Worldwide Olympic Committee can be happening the unsuitable path if it continues to ban political protests from the Video games. 

5 months in the past, the Olympics’ governing physique strengthened its ban on any type of protest by specifying that gestures resembling taking a knee or elevating a fist on a medal podium stay prohibited.

Rule 50 of the IOC’s constitution makes an attempt to implement political neutrality at Olympic Video games however permits athletes to precise opinions in post-competition interviews and on social media.

The IOC’s public stance eased barely earlier this week when president Thomas Bach mentioned the physique’s Athletes’ Fee would “discover alternative ways” opinions might be expressed through the Video games whereas nonetheless “respecting the Olympic spirit.”

However with nothing concrete in place, Warner, who earned bronze on the 2016 Video games in Rio, says he thinks that the IOC is “on the unsuitable aspect of historical past.”

WATCH | Warner discusses IOC’s stance on protest gestures:

Canadian decathlete Damian Warner had robust phrases for the IOC, calling their stance on athletes protesting ‘unlucky’ and mentioned they’re on the ‘unsuitable aspect of historical past.’ 0:50

In mild of latest protests looking for racial equality in america and Canada, Warner, 30, opened up about his perception that the IOC is unwilling to offer a platform for athletes. 

“Organizations just like the Olympic Committee at all times wish to speak about how they need the athlete to point out their character and be who they’re and so they need us to go on the market and carry out and do all this different stuff,” Warner informed CBC Sports activities on Friday.

“However relating to truly listening to what they need to say, they do not actually wish to hear it. They only need us to go there and carry out to allow them to generate income and that is the unlucky a part of this case.”

Whereas the IOC retains its deal with funds, in response to Warner, the worldwide athlete could be left feeling silenced.

“Individuals have to grasp that the athletes aren’t making a living to go there. They are going there to reside a dream that they’ve educated for, to symbolize their nations,” says Warner.

“I believe if there’s one thing on their thoughts they’ve to talk about, then they need to be allowed to talk their thoughts and it is simply unlucky. The IOC and the individuals who have come to that conclusion, I suppose that they are on the unsuitable aspect of historical past.”

‘Individuals crying and asking for assist’

Warner says he comes from a “mixed-race” family — white mom, Black father, white brother and Black sister. The London, Ont., native additionally revealed that whereas his mom was known as “imply names,” his experiences rising up have been principally constructive.

“All my encounters have been with white folks, and I used to be very fortunate within the sense that each single a type of interactions went effectively,” says Warner.

“Everyone handled me with respect and it was virtually like the color of my pores and skin wasn’t even in existence. I used to be simply Damian.”

WATCH | Canadian athletes converse out on equality:

Canadian athletes have been talking out towards racism and for change, together with tennis teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime, basketball legend Steve Nash, and Olympians Kia Nurse, Karina LeBlanc and Perdita Felicien 2:38

Nonetheless, Warner says the loss of life of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who died final month after a police officer kneeled on his neck, considered one of whom had his knee pressed towards Floyd’s neck, has created an outcry of voices that have to be heard.

“I suppose it might be straightforward for some folks to consider [racism] does not exist, but it surely’s essential to grasp and actually have a look at these examples and see the folks crying and asking for assist in the U.S., realizing that it actually does exist and it is time to hearken to them and never simply hear what they’re saying. however for the folks within the positions of energy to truly create change and make change,” says Warner.

Bur for Warner, it needs to be extra than simply discuss. 

“It is essential to take this time now we have now and really implement change that’s going to assist folks transferring ahead and never simply use phrases as a result of persons are getting uninterested in simply phrases today.”

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