Luciana Alvarado is using her historic Olympic appearance to promote equality with a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Alvarado is the first gymnast from Costa Rica to qualify for the Olympics. The 18-year-old ended the country's first-ever qualifying floor routine in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gymnastics competition by taking a knee, placing her left hand behind her back and raising her right hand into a fist toward the sky.
She told the podcast GymCastic after performing the routine in practice that she did it to highlight equal rights and treating all with respect.
“My cousin and I, we both do it in our routines,” she said. “And I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together, you know, and you see that here, like 'Yes, you're one of mine, you understand things', the importance of everyone treated with respect and dignity and everyone having the same rights because we're all the same and we're all beautiful and amazing so I think that's why I love to have it in my routine and I love that my little cousin does it on her routine too."
The routine earned a 12.166 in competition and she did not move into the finals.
The International Olympic Committee loosened its ban on protests ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, clarifying Rule 50 so that competitors could demonstrate ahead of competition in the call room or during athlete introductions. Athletes still cannot demonstrate on the medal stand or during competition.
But Alvarado's move was part of her gymnastics routine, and seems unlikely to face punishment by the IOC because of that.
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