French athletes will not be allowed to wear their “For a better world” badge – meant to show their commitment to Human Rights, during the Beijing Games, said the French Sports & National Olympic Committee (CNOFS) President Henri Sérandour.
“One cannot wear a badge for one cause, another one for another cause,” said the President on French TV Sports Channel News L’Equipe TV.
“We will respect the Olympic regulations: no visible sign of anything during the games and the opening and closing ceremonies,” he added.
On April 4th, the French athletes had shared their intention to display a badge calling for a “better world” with the Olympic rings under the word France, at the Beijing Games.
In an interview with Sports State Secretary Bernard Laporte in Sud Ouest Dimanche (April 5th), support in favour of the athletes had been expressed.
“It is simply the best possible answer and above all, an appropriate one,” had then said Mr Laporte.
The suggestion (of wearing the badge) had been officially made by the Athletes Committee of the CNOSF in early April, after pole vaulter Romain Mesnil had first been refused to wear a green ribbon.
“Wearing a green ribbon had been suggested in that sense but was considered as a distinctive sign with a political connotation; it would have been against the Olympic regulations,” had explained Mesnil.
To reject his proposal made on March 21st, the International Olympic Committee had invoked article 51-3 of the Olympic chart, which states that “no sign or political, religious or racial propaganda is authorised in an Olympic place, site or other such premises.”
Nothing like the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Mexico city. But it is interesting to note that at the time, white Olympian 200m silver medallist Peter Norman of Australia participated in the protest that evening by wearing an “Olympic Project for Human Rights” badge.