‘Fundamental Right’: Dina Asher Smith urges games to allow platform protests | Tokyo Olympics 2020
Dina Asher-Smith stirred up the Black Power salute to Tommy Smith and John Carlos as she insisted it would be wrong for Games organizers to punish any athlete protesting racism at the Tokyo Olympics.
With powerful words like the 47 steps she’ll take in the Olympic Stadium as she sprints toward the 100m gold medal next week, Asher Smith said she supported the athletes who got on their knees — before hinting that International Olympic Committee It will also struggle to prevent people from taking a stand on the podium.
“Protest and express yourself are a fundamental human right,” Asher Smith said. “If you were to punish someone for standing up against racial inequality, how on earth could that happen? How on earth would you enforce that?”
“When people feel so strongly about something, especially when it’s something so close to your heart — and as a black woman who thinks about racism — I just think you can’t monitor people’s voice about it. That’s a very difficult thing to do.”
The 25-year-old said she welcomes recent changes to Article 50 of the International Olympic Committee, to allow athletes to protest quietly on the field of play. But by the same rules, doing so on the platform comes with the threat of unspecified penalties.
But Asher Smith, who studied history at King’s College, London, before becoming a full-time athlete, wondered how this threat could come about in practice. “If you’re going to punish someone, or revoke a medal, how is that visually?”
Asher Smith, who began her quest to win three medals over 100m, 200m and 4x100m in the relay next Friday, started parallel to the 1968 Olympics in Mexico.
One of the most famous moments of the Olympics was the Black Power salute by Tommy Smith [and John Carlos] Way back when,” she said. “It’s something people remember the Olympics for. Something they are proud to see in Olympic Games. So to think [the IOC] He would get up all of a sudden and say ‘not at all’…I think they’re going to shoot themselves in the foot.
Asher Smith also admitted that she was inspired by Marcus Rashford Activity And the performances of the England football team in the last European Championship. She also committed herself to doing more to help and speak up after her adventure in Tokyo ended.
“They are a boon to our nation and really show a good sense of moral leadership,” she said. “I think we are proud as athletes, and as a black Briton I was really proud of going through the Euros. I thought they represented our nation and our community very well.”
Asher Smith’s growing desire to speak on a range of social issues is reflected in her broader confidence to participate in these Olympics. While some athletes wither under the highest scrutiny, they usually thrive. Winning the 200m gold And the 100-meter silver at the 2019 World Championships showed that she belongs to the elite elite. Now, having recovered from what she describes as the “angry” hamstrings that forced her to miss the race at Gateshead last week, she insists nothing in Tokyo will frighten her.
At Heathrow, a large number of British Airways staff said: ‘Are you nervous? I was like, ‘No, what’s so stressful about?’ That’s obviously on a different scale but I’ve been lining up to races since I was eight and I’m really good at it. The stakes change, the mechanics change, the accuracy of it changes, but this Something I do week after week. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of.”
In terms of the fastest times this year, Asher-Smith ranked ninth in both the 100m and 200m while competitors, such as Jamaicans Elaine Thompson-Hera and Shelley-Ann Fraser-Price, were much faster. But Asher‑Smith dismisses suggestions that it might be intimidating, and since she’s been racing often in bad weather and on slow tracks this year, she thinks she has a lot to show.
“I know what I can do,” she said, adding that she was in good shape to break her own British records. “For me it is not important what people are around you because the tournament is a completely different ball game. Everyone has their expectations written on paper, but we are not running on paper, we are on the right track.”
However, Asher-Smith admitted that she felt sympathy for her American rival Sha’Carri Richardson who was Banned from these games After eating marijuana in competition.
“I feel sorry for her because her mother passed away,” she said. “Rules are rules but the girl was sad and so my heart goes out to her in this situation. Nobody wants to lose their parents. Terrible. But I hope we both have very long careers and not just one person. There are so many talented women who are able to run fast. amazing.”
Meanwhile, with these games approaching, Asher-Smith is feeling increasingly fresh. “My coach, John Blackie, always tells me to cool down my excitement all season up to the championship and then let it lose,” she said.
“He told me yesterday that I can get excited so you’ll see more energy from me now. I’m really excited to get out there. The Olympics are the pinnacle of our sport. I love the show, I love the stage. And I love setting up a great performance when it’s important, when the lights are really on” .
And would anyone really be surprised if you handed over Dina again?