Getty ImagesThe United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) is creating an athlete-led group to ‘empower black voices to be heard’ and to challenge ‘barriers to progress’, such as bans on protests against racial injustice. In a letter to Team USA athletes, USOPC chief executive Sarah Hirshland acknowledged ‘the pain experienced by black athletes and the black community’ following widespread protests in the US sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on 25th May. Hirshland said the new group has been established to confront the USOPC’s own rules and systems, accepting that the organistion has in the past ‘tolerated racism and inequality’. The Olympics should be giving athletes a voice, not taking it awayShe also apologised to athletes for the organisation’s failure to listen during the ‘decades you have spoken about equality and unity and sacrificed your moment on the podium to call for change’. She continued: ‘It is time to match your courage. To listen and to understand.
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