The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is investigating two Chinese gold medalists who wore badges featuring the image of the country’s former leader Mao Zedong during a medal ceremony on Aug. 2.
Chinese cyclists Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi wore the badges as they received their medals at the Izu Velodrome, which could be a potential breach of Olympic rules banning political statements.
“No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas,” Article 50 of the Olympic Charter states.
“We contacted the Chinese Olympic Committee and asked them for a report on the situation,” IOC Spokesperson Mark Adams said on Aug. 3, adding that they are “looking into the matter.”
Zedong was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China and the leader of the Chinese Communist Party, ruling with an iron fist from 1949 until his death in 1976.
Last month, IOC eased the rules to allow gestures, such as taking the knee to highlight racism, before and after competing to let athletes “express their views.” However, such gestures and statements are still banned during competitions or at medal ceremonies.
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