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A shadow is cast as the sun sets behind the Olympic Rings on April 21 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: by Carl Court/Getty Images

Athletes who take a knee or demonstrate with other forms of protest during the Tokyo Olympics this summer will be punished under a ban endorsed by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday.

The state of play: The announcement backing the protection of neutrality for the Olympic Games comes one day after the world watched a Minneapolis jury convict a former police officer of murdering George Floyd, a Black man. The incident last summer sparked global demonstrations for racial justice.

What they said: When asked if athletes would be punished for making political statements such as taking a knee on the podium, IOC's Athletes' Commission chief Kirsty Coventry replied, "Yes that is correct," Reuters reports.

  • "[A] clear majority of athletes said that it is not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play (70% of respondents), at official ceremonies (70% of respondents) or on the podium (67% of respondents)," the IOC said in a statement.
  • Yes, but: The group acknowledges, some athletes disagree, arguing for freedom of expression and speech.

Background: IOC officials said they based their decision in part on a study involving more than 3,500 athletes representing 185 National Olympic Committees and 41 sports.

Go deeper

Updated Aug 8, 2021 - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's players celebrate their victory in their women's gold medal volleyball match against Brazil during the Olympic Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP via Getty Images

πŸ₯‡: U.S. clinches top Olympic gold spot after women's indoor volleyball team win

πŸ€: U.S. women's basketball scores 7th straight Olympic gold medal

πŸš΄β€β™€οΈ: American Jennifer Valente wins final women's cycling gold of Tokyo Games

πŸ€ΈπŸΏβ€β™€οΈ: Biden lauds Biles for mental health "courage," praises Team USA in virtual meeting β€” Poll: Americans care about Olympians' mental health

🐎: Germany's modern pentathlon coach disqualified from Games for punching horse

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Updated Jul 29, 2021 - Axios Denver

Colorado athletes to watch at the Tokyo Olympics

Expand chart
Data: Team USA; Cartogram: Connor Rothschild/Axios

Colorado counts 34 athletes in the Olympic Games in more than 14 sports and 23 disciplines, according to Team USA.

Why it matters: We love to cheer for our hometown heroes as they go for the gold!

By the numbers: Colorado's athlete count is the third most in the nation β€” behind California's 126 and Florida's 51, according to an Axios analysis.

  • The athletes self-report their hometowns.
  • In reality, dozens more Olympians live in Colorado because they train here β€” and the same goes for athletes from other countries, too.

Meet the athletes here:

Jul 29, 2021 - Sports

U.S. pole vaulter out of Olympics after positive coronavirus test

Sam Kendricks competes in the men's pole vault final at the 2020 U.S. Olympic track & field team trials at Hayward Field on June 21, 2021. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, reigning world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, tested positive for coronavirus and will withdraw from the Games, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement Thursday.

Driving the news: "In alignment with local rules and protocols, he has been transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation and is being supported by the USATF and USOPC staff," the U.S. Olympic committee wrote.