Dr John Carlos

WILL LEAD THE DISCUSSION: Dr John Carlos

Olympic legend Dr John Carlos, Olympic champion Kikkan Randall and four-time Olympian and Pan Am Sports Athlete Commission president Aliann Pompey were expected to join three-time Pan Am Games Champion Alexandra Orlando for a debate on the IOC Rule 50 last evening.

The conversations would also centre on the future of the Olympic Movement and the important role athletes must play in shaping that future.

But possible solutions to the scrutinised IOC Rule 50—barring athlete protests from the Games—will be the main topic up for debate, featuring Carlos, one of the men who shed light on this controversial issue with his podium protest at the Mexico 1968 Olympics.

A Pan Am Sports release stated: “As professional sports leagues and international competitions begin to gradually return, it is vital that the voice of the athlete is elevated not only to safeguard their health and well-being, but also to ensure that policies and practices are created that benefit the athletes who make these competitions possible.”

It continued: “But the voices and actions of athletes can also be used to create positive social change outside of the field of play. Today, more than ever, athletes are using their platforms to advocate for these changes throughout the world, from issues of racial or gender equality to human rights and everything in between.”

Pan Am Sports and its Athlete Commission organised the first virtual discussion on July 9 about the future of sport, including the return to competition, changes to anti-doping and the future of Rule 50.

More than 65 athlete leaders from throughout the Americas and the world participated in the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, with the majority of that time spent discussing the benefits and drawbacks of athlete protests at international Games, as well as potential solutions to this controversial issue.

This latest virtual discussion is entitled, “Athletes Connect: Leaders of the Americas Look Towards the Future”.

Pompey was expected to provide a recap of the outcomes from the July 9 athlete meeting.

Since her election following the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, Pompey has worked hard to increase athlete representation throughout the Olympic Movement in the Americas and create opportunities for athletes to make their voices heard.

Carlos is best known for his actions on the podium at the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games with teammate Tommie Smith, where they raised their fists in protest against racial inequality in the United States and were expelled from the Games after having won 200m bronze and gold medals respectively in the Men’s 200 metres.

Carlos also became the Pan American Games Champion in the 200m at Winnipeg 1967 and continues his role as an activist for social change to this day.

“His iconic protest at Mexico 1968 has been immortalised in the Olympic Hall of Fame and continues as a symbol for the power athletes have, more than 50 years later.

The final member of the panel, Randall, is now an IOC Member representing the US on the IOC Athlete’s Commission, a board member of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and a “Get-Active”-ist who promotes healthy and active lifestyles to youth audiences.

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