Costa Rican gymnast ends routine with Black Lives Matter tribute

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Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado ended her floor routine on Sunday with a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, taking a knee and tilting her head back with her fist raised towards the sky. The 18-year-old, who is the first gymnast from Costa Rica to qualify for the Olympics, told The Associated Press it was a deliberate decision.

Alvarado said she wanted to highlight equality and treating others with respect and dignity. "Because we're all the same and we're all beautiful and amazing," she told the AP.

Alvarado performed the same move during training on Friday. Her routine during competition earned her a 12.166, meaning she will not move forward to the finals.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently tweaked its rules about protesting ahead of this year's games, allowing for some demonstrations to occur before competition. Alvarado likely will not face repercussions, as the move was incorporated into her routine.

Luciana Alvarado, of Costa Rica, performs on the floor exercise during the women's artistic gymnastic qualifications at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo. / Credit: Ashley Landis / AP
Luciana Alvarado, of Costa Rica, performs on the floor exercise during the women's artistic gymnastic qualifications at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo. / Credit: Ashley Landis / AP

Many believe that the IOC's recent rule change still falls short, however, as it continues to bar athletes from protesting on Olympic podiums. A letter released on the eve of this year's games called for the committee to abstain from punishing athletes who demonstrate, regardless of where and when they do so.

The letter was signed by former Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos, whose decision during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City to raise a fist while the U.S. national anthem played resulted in the two being suspended from the U.S. team and barred from the Olympic village.

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