Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado ended her Olympic floor routine by paying tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement. The 18-year-old gymnast dropped to one knee and put her first in the air, a moment she reportedly choreographed herself.
Alvarado, the first Costa Rican gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, wanted to use her routine on Sunday to send a message about the importance of equality for all people. She told the Associated Press that the routine was choreographed to champion treating everyone with respect and dignity. “Because we’re all the same,” she told the AP, “We’re all beautiful and amazing.”
The International Olympic Committee announced in April it was banning all protests at the Games. In a statement, the IOC said that the rule “provides a framework to protect the neutrality of sport and the Olympic Games.” The rule bars commercial installations and advertising signs at Olympic sites, as well as any kind of “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda,” according to a statement on the Olympics’ website.
Per USA Today, protests include “displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands” and “gestures of a political nature,” such as Alvarado’s kneeling. However, the rule states that protests and demonstrations are banned on playing fields, in the Olympic Village, during medal ceremonies, and during other official ceremonies. According to the AP, including the protest in her artistic routine is “unlikely to trigger repercussions.”
In an interview with Gymcastic, Alvarado said she felt it was the right thing to do. “My cousin and I, we both do it in our routines,” she said. “And I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together, you know, and you see that here, like ‘Yes, you’re one of mine, you understand things.’”
Alvarado scored a 12.166 on her floor routine, which you can watch in full, here. While she unfortunately did not qualify for finals, her routine is sure to be remembered.
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