The cycling duo won gold in the women’s team sprint at the Tokyo Olympics, but now have to explain an accessory they wore during their medal ceremony
Tokyo 2020: Biles praises Chinese competitors after clinching bronze
Chinese duo Zhong Tianshi and Bao Shanju have been asked to explain why they wore badges featuring the country’s former leader Mao Zedong on the Olympic podium.
The pair sported the accessory during their medal ceremony, but the IOC (International Olympic Committee) have asked them to provide a reason for the controversial gesture.
They may be in danger of breaching Olympic rules on the display of political paraphernalia, despite the committee announcing they were relaxing article 50 to allow gestures, such as taking the knee.
However, political gestures are still banned on the podium, and IOC spokesperson Mark Adams shed some light on what will happen next.
“We contacted the Chinese Olympic Committee and asked them for a report on the situation. We are looking into the matter,” he said.
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Zedong, also known as Chairman Mao, was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the chairman of the Chinese Communist Party before his death in 1976.
When he took over in 1949, he claimed China had fallen behind the rest of the world because of “oppression and exploitation by foreign imperialists”, and warned the country would “no longer be a nation subject to insult and humiliation”.
Tianshi, 30, and Shanju, 23, won gold in the women’s team sprint and added to China’s impressive haul of 69 medals, 32 of them gold.
They currently sit at the top of the 2020 Olympic medals table, with the US in second and home nation Japan in third.
Speaking of the US, their shot put athlete Raven Saunders is being investigated after she raised an X above her during her medal ceremony.
AFP via Getty Images)
The silver medallist expressed that the gesture was made to support the oppressed.
She was supported by The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), who said the gesture did not breach its rules.
They explained it was a “peaceful expression in support of racial and social justice (that) was respectful of her competitors”.