Beatrice Masilingi, Sha’Carri Richardson and Ona CarbonellMother Jones illustration; Getty; ZUMA Press

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As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the globe, and the cost of the Tokyo Olympics skyrockets, the International Olympic Committee and its satellite arms are busying themselves by cracking down on dress codes, recreational drug use, and peaceful protests—you know, the important stuff.

We’re keeping track of its inane policing:

  • Namibia’s National Olympic Committee disqualifies 18-year-old athletes Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi from running the women’s 400-meter race due to testosterone levels that the committee said were too high to let them compete. (In sex-testing athletes, “people are overdetermining testosterone’s effects in ways that don’t fit with what we know scientifically,” Stanford bioethicist Katrina Karkazis told us in 2016.)
  • Sha’Carri Richardson, a US favorite for the women’s 100-meter sprint, is caught with pot in her system and suspended for 30 days—meaning she won’t be able to compete in the event in Tokyo. Writes Mother Jones‘ Nathalie Baptiste: “Did smoking a little weed give her any kind of unfair advantage? No. Did she break the law? No. Richardson smoked in Oregon, where adults are legally allowed to partake. Simply put, it’s an archaic rule and, of course, it impacts vulnerable women.”
  • Soul Cap, a company that makes headwear specifically for more voluminous hair types, is rejected by the International Swimming Federation (FINA), meaning Black swimmers can’t use its caps at the Olympics. (FINA later said it is “reviewing” its decision.)
  • Spanish synchronized swimmer Ona Carbonell’s son Kai, who is still breastfeeding, is forbidden from staying in Tokyo’s Olympic Village with his mother (and source of critical sustenance) during the Games.

  • The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizers ban their social media teams from posting photos of any athletes taking a knee in protest before an event, even though the IOC recently relaxed its rules to allow acts of protest inside  Olympic venues—except if it is targeted, disruptive, or happens on the podium.
  • Australian showjumper Jamie Kermond is banned from the country’s Olympic team after testing positive for cocaine. Kermond, who was set to make his Olympic debut, stated he’d indulged recreationally one time. Cocaine falls under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances, a sprawling and idiotic exercise in authoritarian control whose only virtue is that it introduced the world to the hilariously monikered Dick Pound.

Top image credit: Mother Jones illustration; Joel Marklund/Bildbyran via ZUMA Press; Patrick Smith/Getty Images; Clive Rose/Getty Images

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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