By Nicholas Perugini, Trending Writer
We are less than five months away from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. As the world prepares its athletes to perform on the world stage, we might wonder how American Olympic athletes will react considering the recent wave of protests sweeping the fields, courts, and stadiums across America. Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and the treatment of African Americans has garnered international attention. Now, other NFL players have joined Kaepernick in their protest sparking a debate across the country. Athletes from other sports have joined the protest, from High School football teams to College Basketball players. Even a German soccer team has decided to kneel in solidarity with the protesters in America. As this movement takes to the international stage, it has begun to morph into something larger. One of the German soccer players commented about the protest, “We stand against racists and that’s our way of sharing that. We are always going to fight against this kind of behavior, as a team.” With the rise of right wing nationalism in Europe, the protests in America have resonated with European sports viewers. It is longer about African Americans struggling to find equality, but for a general end to racism worldwide.
Such protests hark back to a time fifty years ago when track runners Tommie Smith and John Carlos received criticism for raising a black gloved fist during the United States national anthem after their victories in the 200-meter dash during the 1968 summer Olympics. The iconic image taken of the moment has been synonymous with the Black Power movement. The act caused an uproar and the Olympic committee banned the two runners from competing for the rest of the games. The action of these two athletes caused much controversy, similar to what we are seeing today.
Keeping in mind such protesting, one may wonder what we will see at the upcoming Olympics in South Korea. It looks as if this movement is going to continue to grow and expand as more athletes begin to participate. If a United States Olympic athlete decides to kneel during the national anthem, how will the Olympic committee react? Will the crowd boo at the protesters like what happened to Smith and Carlos in 1968? Or will they be exonerated as heroes with a cause? Only time will tell, but all we know for sure is that the 2018 Olympics will be interesting.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 24th print edition.
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