Costa Rican Athlete Luciana Alvarado’s Olympic floor routine was historic for two reasons. First, Luciana is the first gymnast to qualify for the Olympics from Costa Rica. Then, Alvarado paid tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement at the conclusion of her performance. This performance was the first of its kind on an international stage in the sport.
At the end of her routine on Sunday, the 18-year-old gymnast showed her support for the BLM cry for social justice by taking a knee, putting her left hand behind her body, and raising her right fist in the air. This move is a one used by athletes to show their backing of the BLM movement.
According to NBC Sports, Alvarado said the move was deliberate. “My cousin and I, we both do it in our routines. And I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together… and 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.”
Prior to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set up rules on the subject of protesting. They allowed some demonstrations, but the rules stated they had to occur before the competition.
Following the implementation of these rules, a letter signed by athletes John Carlos and Tommy Smith was sent to the IOC asking that athletes not be punished for demonstrating — regardless of when or where they do it. Both John Carlos and Tommy Smith were suspended from the U.S. team in the 1968 Olympics after raising an arm while on the Olympic podium in Mexico City. Smith won, and fellow teammate Carlos came in third in the 200-meters.
Since Alvarado incorporated the move into her routine, she is not likely to see any consequences. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the last of her on this Olympics stage. Luciana scored a 12.166, which wasn’t enough to qualify her to move to the finals. However, Alvarado was still a winner in everyone’s eyes given all the support the young gymnast received on social media.