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Photo: Tami Chappell/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee on Thursday said it will no longer prohibit athletes from "peacefully and respectfully demonstrating in support of racial and social justice for all human beings."

Why it matters: The committee in January said that "[n]o kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas." Athletes were still allowed to demonstrate or protest at press conferences, in interviews, at team meetings, and on digital and traditional media platforms.

  • The committee further warned that "disciplinary action [would] be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary" for those who violated protest rules.

The big picture: Sporting events have become a common arena for people to protest systemic racism. In the U.S., former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a national conversation on racial injustice when he started to kneel during the national anthem in 2016.

What they're saying: "The USOPC's decision recognized that Team USA athletes serve as a beacon of inspiration and unity globally, and their voices have and will be a force for good and progress in our society," a statement from USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland reads.

  • "In the United States, we need to continue to use the platforms we have available to us to foster discussion, education and action for racial and social justice."

Go deeper

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executive orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job, Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from the Trump administration.

Updated 6 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."