Costa Rican Gymnast Luciana Alvarado Ends Tokyo Olympics Routine with Black Lives Matter Tribute
“I love to have it in my routine and I love that my little cousin does it on her routine too,” Luciana Alvarado said
Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado wrapped up her floor routing at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday with a poignant statement.
The athlete, 18, kneeled and raised her fist, a tribute she made in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement.
After performing the routine in practice on Friday, she told the GymCastic podcast that both she and her cousin incorporate the gesture into their performances in silent protest for racial equality.
"My cousin and I, we both do it in our routines," Alvarado said.. "And I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together, 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.' "
She added, "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."
Alvarado — who is the first athlete in Costa Rica to have an Olympic qualifying gymnastics routine — scored a 12.166 on the routine and did not qualify for the finals, but her protest left an impression on fans.
"I cannot help but feel proud," one said, in Spanish. "Congratulations #LucianaAlvarado, who has moved us with her final #blacklivesmatter."
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Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) loosened its rules on an athlete's right to protest.
Clarifying Rule 50, the IOC said competitors are allowed to demonstrate ahead of competition or during athlete introductions, but they cannot on the medal stand or during competition.
"The new guidelines are a result of our extensive consultation with the global athletes' community," IOC AC Chair Kirsty Coventry said in a statement. "While the guidelines offer new opportunities for athletes to express themselves prior to the competition, they preserve the competitions on the Field of Play, the ceremonies, the victory ceremonies and the Olympic Village. This was the wish of a big majority of athletes in our global consultation."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics beginning July 23rd and the Tokyo Paralympics beginning August 24th on NBC.