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The United States Olympic Committee and Rule 50 in the 21st Century
Freeman, R. Edward; Mead, Jenny Technical Note E-0478 / Published June 16, 2022 / 8 pages.
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Product Overview

This technical note explains the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Rule 50, put into place in the 1970s, which prohibited protest at the Olympic Games. The stated goals of the rule were to (1) protect the athletes; (2) minimize commercialization of the Games in what was known as the "clean venue" policy; (3) prevent the Games from becoming a vehicle for "promotion of political, religious or racial propaganda"; and (4) specify what was allowed on sports uniforms and equipment (such as logos and manufacturers' name), all to prevent unauthorized parties from using the public platform of the Olympics for their own purpose. However, athletes had pushed back for decades and, in 2020, with worldwide social protest following the killing of George Floyd, the IOC had to rethink Rule 50 and how the organization would deal with protest at the Games. This note gives a brief history of the Olympics and of protest at the games over the course of their existence.




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  • Overview

    This technical note explains the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Rule 50, put into place in the 1970s, which prohibited protest at the Olympic Games. The stated goals of the rule were to (1) protect the athletes; (2) minimize commercialization of the Games in what was known as the "clean venue" policy; (3) prevent the Games from becoming a vehicle for "promotion of political, religious or racial propaganda"; and (4) specify what was allowed on sports uniforms and equipment (such as logos and manufacturers' name), all to prevent unauthorized parties from using the public platform of the Olympics for their own purpose. However, athletes had pushed back for decades and, in 2020, with worldwide social protest following the killing of George Floyd, the IOC had to rethink Rule 50 and how the organization would deal with protest at the Games. This note gives a brief history of the Olympics and of protest at the games over the course of their existence.

  • Learning Objectives