Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado concluded her floor routine during Olympic qualifying on Sunday by incorporating a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The 18-year-old ended her routine on one knee, her head back and her right fist thrust straight into the air.
Alvarado said the closing of her routine was choreographed in homage to the Black Lives Matter movement that spread around the world after George Floyd, a Black man, was killed by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, in Minneapolis last summer.
After she performed the same move at training on Friday, Alvarado said that she hoped to highlight the importance of equal rights on a global stage and champion treating all with respect and dignity.
“My cousin and I, we both do it in our routines,” Alvarado told the podcast GymCastic. “And I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together, you know, 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 because we’re all the same and we’re all beautiful and amazing — so I think that’s why I love to have it in my routine and I love that my little cousin does it on her routine, too.”
The International Olympic Committee has implemented rules to try to limit protest actions by athletes. But Alvarado’s gesture, incorporated into her artistic routine, is unlikely to trigger repercussions.
Sunday’s routine will be her only turn on the Olympic stage: Alvarado scored a 12.166 on the floor and will not qualify to move forward to finals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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