Costa Rica gymnast raises fist, kneels for BLM during Olympics routine

Luciana Alvarado ended her Olympics floor routine by incorporating a gesture of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

A Costa Rican gymnast has become the first athlete to perform a symbolic protest for Black lives at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Luciana Alvarado ended her floor routine by taking a knee and raising her fist in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The 18-year-old Alvarado told the GymCastic live blog that both she and her cousin, who is also a gymnast, both incorporate the gesture. 

“My cousin and I, we both do it in our routines,” Alvarado said. “And I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together, you see that here, like ‘Yes, you’re one of mine, you understand things; the importance of everyone treated with respect and dignity and everyone having the same rights because we’re all the same, and we’re all beautiful and amazing.'”

“I think that’s why I love to have it in my routine,” she added, “and I love that my little cousin does it on her routine too.”

The podcast is reporting live from Tokyo and interviewed Alvarado after her practice round last week. She is the first athlete from Costa Rica to have a qualifying gymnastics routine; however, she didn’t qualify for the finals.

Nonetheless, her performance and gesture of solidarity left an impression on the Olympics’ worldwide audiences and gymnastics fans. 

(Credit: (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

After initially ruling that athletes would not be able to protest during the games, the International Olympic Committee loosened its rules, saying competitors are allowed to demonstrate ahead of the competition or during athlete introductions, but they cannot do so on the medal stand or during competition.

A Spanish news site shared Alvarado’s performance on Twitter. One fan responded, “I am American. Thank you very much, miss, for your support.” 

Another Twitter user wrote in Spanish: “I cannot help but feel proud. Congratulations #LucianaAlvarado, who has moved us with her final #blacklivesmatter.”

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