Chinese champions wear Mao Zedong badges on cycling podium
TOKYO—The International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday it is waiting for a formal explanation from the Chinese Olympic officials as to why two gold medalists wore badges featuring the head of the country’s former leader Mao Zedong on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Chinese Olympic Committee has said they will provide a report “soon” and assured the IOC there would be no repeat of its athletes wearing the badges.
“We are in contact with the Chinese Olympic Committee who have assured us that we will receive a full formal answer soon,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said. “But they have also assured us already that this will not happen again.”
Cyclists Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi wore the badges featuring the head of China’s former leader during a medal ceremony on Monday, in a potential breach of Olympic rules on the display of political paraphernalia.
The duo wore the badges, commonplace in China for half a century but a potential breach of Rule 50 of the Olympic charter, after retaining the women’s cycling team sprint title at the Izu Velodrome.
While the IOC last month relaxed Rule 50 to allow gestures, such as taking the knee on the field of play provided athletes do so without disruption and with respect for fellow competitors, it has banned any such gestures on the podium.
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