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Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee issued a set of guidelines on Thursday to strengthen a rule that bars athletes from certain forms of political protest at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

What they're saying... The Committee warns: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."

  • Activism such as kneeling, political hand gestures and wearing or holding signs or armbands is not allowed at fields of play, in the Olympic Village, during medal or other official ceremonies.
  • But, but, but: So long as athletes follow local laws, they're permitted to express themselves at press conferences, in interviews, at team meetings and on digital and traditional media platforms.

The committee states that "disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary" for those who violate the guidelines.

Between the lines: Sporting events, including the Olympics, have a lengthy history of attracting political protests. In the U.S., former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racial injustice, sparking a national dialogue on the issue.

  • In 1968, American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists on the medal stand at the Games in Mexico City, per the Washington Post.
  • Ethiopian marathoner Feyisa Lilesa showed support for civil rights protestors in his home country by crossing his wrists at the finish line during the 2016 Olympic Games, the Washington Post notes.
  • American fencer Race Imboden and hammer-thrower Gwen Berry faced probation from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee last year over protesting during the national anthem.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

16 mins ago - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for private companies during a Monday interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Why it matters: De Blasio said it was a "first-in-the-nation measure" and will go into effect starting Dec. 27.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent. 

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American businesses spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and the bills keep getting bigger. But some of the companies promising to help rein in those costs prevent employers from looking under the hood.

Why it matters: Documents provided to Axios reveal a new layer of secrecy within the maze of American drug pricing — one in which firms that manage drug coverage for hundreds of employers, representing millions of workers, obscure the details of their work and make it difficult to figure out whether they're actually providing a good deal.