In the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia’s draconian antigay laws sparked protests worldwide. Some called for teams to boycott the games. Billie Jean King, the U.S. envoy to the games, said that the LGBT community needed “a John Carlos moment.” Athletes vowed to flash six fingers from the podiums, referencing Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, which states: “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
The International Olympic Committee has stated that this type of political statement has no place at the games, and so far, we have seen only minor acts of defiance. But athletes surfaced another cause this week: More than 100 Olympians have signed a letter calling on world leaders to get serious about fighting climate change.