Team GB aims to ensure athletes can make Olympic protests at Tokyo Games

  • Mark England: ‘Really important we find a route for athletes’
  • IOC forbids demonstrations in competition or ceremonies

Mark England, Team GB’s chef de mission at the Olympics this summer, says the organisation is in dialogue with British athletes to ensure those who wish to protest in Tokyo will be able to do so. England was speaking as Great Britain announced what he says will be their strongest swimming team at an Olympic Games.

“The Team GB athlete commission has been in close contact with the IOC,” said England. “It’s been a very strong rebuttal around athletes protesting on the podium or the field of play. But I’m relaxed because our communication with our athletes’ commission is regular and pertinent. We had a very open dialogue with all athletes, not just the commission.”

England said around 300 athletes were recently hosted on a call to discuss numerous issues and another will soon be scheduled in light of the International Olympic Committee’s decision to uphold its rule 50, which forbids athletes from demonstrating on the podium in competition or during the ceremonies.

“We’ll listen to what they have to say and what they want to do and what their preferred action may well be and it’s really important that we find an avenue and a route for those athletes across the team who wish to protest against whatever issue may be close to their heart or globally across the athlete fraternity. That dialogue continues and I am looking forward to the next edition of it.”

Great Britain’s swimming team – for which Adam Peaty, Duncan Scott, James Wilby and Luke Greenbank had already been selected – announced the full 28-member team following the British Swimming selection trials that ended on 18 April. The group includes the former world champions Ben Proud, James Guy and Molly Renshaw, plus the former European champion Freya Anderson.

“I’m pretty confident that we are selecting the strongest swim team that has ever represented Team GB at an Olympic games,” said England. “The strength in depth that the swimming team has now and the performance outcomes from recent results and everything has just been nothing short of fantastic.

Adam Peaty, Molly Renshaw and Ben Proud
Adam Peaty, Molly Renshaw and Ben Proud. Composite: Reuters; PA Images; Shutterstock

Peaty, the 100m breaststroke Olympic champion and world record holder, further underlined his intentions for the summer, saying: “For me, without going too deep into it, it’s obviously to reinstate my gold medal. I’d be lying if I didn’t want to go there and defend – or attack, as I call it – but really it’s just as good as anyone. I want to go out there with my best performance and to get to that equals getting the right mindset, nerves, the enjoyment, the thrill of it, the adrenaline.

“I want to go out there and just enjoy the process of going to the Olympics, an incredible process, and hopefully give the country and the world what it deserves after going through so much rubbish with Covid-19.”

In light of local governments recently reconsidering their agreements to host certain national teams, including the city of Okuizumo recently deciding against hosting India’s hockey team, England also underlined that Great Britain’s plans remain firm. He said: “Where you have individual national federations negotiating their own training camps, it can be quite complex. But we have, and it was reinforced last Friday, Kawasaki, Yokohama and Keio University absolutely 100% support[ing] us.”


Tumaini Carayol

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
‘A fundamental right’: Dina Asher-Smith urges Games to allow podium protests
Dina Asher-Smith has evoked the spirit of Tommie Smith’s and John Carlos’s black power salute as she insisted that it would be a mistake for organisers to sanction any athlete protesting against racism

Sean Ingle in Tokyo

22, Jul, 2021 @9:00 PM

Article image
Adam Peaty urges UK after Tokyo gold: ‘Now we’ve got to switch our mindset’
After winning Great Britain’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics, Adam Peaty said he hoped his victory would give some hope, joy and inspiration to his team, and to his country

Andy Bull at Tokyo Aquatics Centre

26, Jul, 2021 @7:30 AM

Article image
Adam Peaty sends warning to Olympic swimming rivals at British trials
Adam Peaty won the 100m breaststroke in 57.39 seconds then said: ‘I’m way ahead of where I should be now’

Sean Ingle

14, Apr, 2021 @8:11 PM

Article image
Back to the future: Team GB gear up for delayed Tokyo Games
Bold predictions have been dampened by the pandemic but hopes for Team GB remain high as this Olympic year dawns, for a second time

Sean Ingle

31, Dec, 2020 @1:45 PM

Article image
Adam Peaty’s second Olympic gold as close to an inevitability as sport gets | Andy Bull
If he stays fit, Peaty will be racing himself in the men’s 100m breaststroke, for which he holds the 17 fastest times in history

Andy Bull in Tokyo

23, Jul, 2021 @1:55 PM

Article image
Adam Peaty in Team GB squad and 'very hopeful' Tokyo Games will go ahead
The Olympic 100m breaststroke champion Adam Peaty has insisted he is ‘very hopeful’ the Games will go ahead this summer

Sean Ingle

20, Jan, 2021 @4:16 PM

Article image
IOC holds Tokyo as Olympic hostage to fortune with grim Games ahead | Barry Glendenning
Beach volleyball in Rio was a riotous joy but how will it play when a city is essentially forced against its will to host the global event?

Barry Glendenning

02, Jun, 2021 @3:15 PM

Article image
BOA hits back at Team GB athletes in Olympic sponsorship row
The British Olympic Association is in a marketing rights row with its own athletes and the sprinter Adam Gemili, a BOA athlete representative, said: ‘We want to recognise our sponsors’

Paul MacInnes

10, Dec, 2019 @6:18 PM

Article image
Adam Peaty wins GB’s first Tokyo 2020 gold and makes Olympic history
Adam Peaty retained his Olympic title as he swept to victory in the 100m breaststroke and won Team GB’s first gold of the Tokyo Games

Andy Bull at Tokyo Aquatics Centre

26, Jul, 2021 @6:15 AM

Article image
Team GB smash world record to win Tokyo 4x100m mixed medley relay gold
Great Britain won another swimming gold as the quartet of Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin broke the 4x100m mixed medley relay world record

Andy Bull at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre

31, Jul, 2021 @3:43 AM