Costa Rican Gymnast Luciana Alvarado Honors Black Lives Matter Movement at Tokyo Olympics
Luciana Alvarado has already made history by becoming the first gymnast to represent Costa Rica in any Olympic Games. But on Sunday, the 18-year-old athlete also honored Black Lives Matter on the world's most prestigious sports stage. (Related: Complete Guide to the Tokyo Olympics: How to Watch Your Favorite Athletes)
To close out her floor routine during the fourth subdivision of the women's artistic gymnastics qualifications on Sunday, Alvarado took a knee and raised her right clenched fist to the sky — an homage to the Black Lives Matter movement, which greatly increased its presence last year in the wake of George Floyd's death. Alvarado, who ultimately didn't qualify for the event's finals, told The Associated Press that she felt it was important to highlight equality on the global stage "because we're all the same, and we're all beautiful and amazing."
"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, the importance of everyone treated with respect and dignity and everyone having the same rights because we're all the same. So, I think that's why I love to have it in my routine." (Related: Why Wellness Pros Need to Be Part of the Conversation About Racism)
Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee relaxed some of its guidelines as to how athletes can express their views. Based on the new rules, athletes are allowed to "express their views" in competition as long as their gestures abide by the principles of Olympism — which is "to show how sport can make us all better citizens through the combination of mind, body, and spirit," according to the World Olympians Association — and do not target "people, countries, [organizations] and/or their dignity."
The demonstration should also not be "disruptive," which can be considered "expressions during another athlete's or team's national anthem/or introduction, as this may interfere with such other athlete's tor team's concentration on and/or preparation for competition," according to the IOC. (Related: Simone Biles Opened Up About One of Her First Experiences with Racism)
Alvarado has since received praise from fans on Twitter following Sunday's powerful demonstration with one user tweeting: "Costa Rica should be so proud! She deserves her own Gold Medal for courage and bravery."
Even though Alvarado's journey at the Tokyo Games has come to an end, it's safe to say she definitely left her mark on the Olympic stage.