Golden message

Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado takes a knee at the Tokyo Olympics in support of Black Lives Matter

New guidelines allow athletes to demonstrate before or after finishing their routines

Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado took advantage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rule that now allows athletes to protest for a passionate cause. Right after finishing her floor routine, the 18-year-old sport star wrapped up by taking a knee and lifting her fist in support of Black Lives Matter and demand justice and equal rights to Black and Brown communities.

“My cousin and I, we both do it in our routines,” Alvarado said to the GymCastic podcast. ”And I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together, you see that here, like ‘Yes, you’re one of mine, you understand things; the importance of everyone treated with respect and dignity and everyone having the same rights because we’re all the same and we’re all beautiful and amazing.’”

Gymnastics - Artistic - Olympics: Day 2©GettyImages
Luciana Alvarado of Team Costa Rica competes on vault during Women‘s Qualification on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.

According to Alvarado, she loves incorporating poignant messages in her performances. “I think that‘s why I love to have it in my routine, and I love that my little cousin does it on her routine too.”

According to Rule 50, competitors are allowed to demonstrate before or after finishing their routines, but never on the medal stand or while in competition.

“The new guidelines are a result of our extensive consultation with the global athletes’ community,” IOC AC Chair Kirsty Coventry said in a statement. “While the guidelines offer new opportunities for athletes to express themselves prior to the competition, they preserve the competitions on the Field of Play, the ceremonies, the victory ceremonies, and the Olympic Village. This was the wish of a big majority of athletes in our global consultation.”

Although the Costa Rican athlete didn’t qualify for the final after scoring 12.166, her message definitely takes the gold.