Costa Rican gymnast ends Olympics floor routine by taking the knee
She deliberately incorporated the gesture into her routine.
Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado ended her floor routine at the Tokyo Olympics by taking a knee and raising a fist towards the sky, in a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 18-year-old is the first gymnast from Costa Rica to qualify for an Olympics, and used her routine to highlight equality.
She told the Associated Press that she hoped to highlight the importance of equal rights on a global stage, and champion treating all with respect and dignity because "we're all the same and we're all beautiful and amazing."
Alvarado had made clear that the ending of her routine was choreographed in homage to the Black Lives Matter movement that spread around the world last summer.
— Mari (@very_berry99) July 25, 2021
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had said earlier on this year that athletes would not be able to take the knee before competing, as the gesture was deemed a form of protest. However these rules were relaxed in the build-up to the Games, meaning that competitors such as the GB women's football side are able to take the knee before competing.
Competitors are still banned from protesting on the podium though. Before the games got underway, a letter was sent to the IOC calling for it to abstain from punishing athletes who demonstrate, regardless of where and when they do so.
Alvarado will likely not face any punishment or repercussions for her actions because the move was incorporated into her routine.
She will not be appearing again at the Olympics though, as her score of 12.166 was not enough for her to qualify for the final of the event.