At the recent Tokyo Olympics, the American fencing team made noise by wearing pink face masks alongside their teammate, who stood out in his black mask. They were not happy to be competing with him because of various allegations against him.
Three team members from the American fencing team donned pink masks in support of sexual assault victims. One of their teammates, Alen Hadzic, stood next to them and looked strikingly different—He wasn't wearing a pink mask.
Hadzic has various accusations of sexual misconduct against his name, and consequently, his teammates were not happy to have him at their side.
Olympic fencers from team US protest against their teammate by wearing pink face masks | Photo: Twitter/IbtihajMuhammad
APPEALED THE SUSPENSION
Hadzic has denied the allegations and managed to appeal his suspension from the sport. During a telephonic interview with USA TODAY Sports, he said: “Frankly, they’re untruths. They’re just frankly not true.’’
But this did not prevent his fellow fencing teammates from voicing their opinions. The men's team, which consisted of Jake Hoyle, Curtis McDowald, and Yeisser Ramirez, made their displeasure publicly known thanks to their pink masks.
TAKING A STAND
The image has been shared online, and various commentators have praised these men for taking a stand against injustice. In a tweet posted by Ibtihaj Muhammad, the U.S. Olympic medalist supported this move.
MORE ACCOUNTABILITY NEEDED
The issue raised the alarm that many believe more accountability is needed surrounding the protection of females in sport. The U.S. Center for SafeSport initially suspended Hadzic from all fencing activities, but the decision was later overruled.
Hadzic thought certain fencers would avoid speaking to him at the Olympics, but this was not his experience.
Reports indicated that this decision was taken because Hadzic's addition to Team USA would not affect the United States' reputation.
NOT ALLOWED IN THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE
Teammates were upset by this decision and consequently decided to protest it in their own way—through the pink face masks. While he was allowed to participate, Hadzic was not allowed to live in the Olympic Village.
He lodged at a hotel in the area and traveled separately from them. The sportsman was also prohibited from training with any of his female teammates.
SURPRISED BY WARM RECEPTION
While he was isolated and kept to himself during the acclaimed sporting event, he was surprised by his reception. He shared that people were more friendly than he had anticipated.
“When I actually got to the training facility, all of the coaches shook my hand and congratulated me on making the team.''
OTHER FENCERS WELCOMED HIM
Hadzic thought certain fencers would avoid speaking to him at the Olympics, but this was not his experience. He stated that many of them, purportedly even the female fencers, said hello to him.
Hadzic's lawyer, Michael Palma, said his client rightfully earned his chance to participate in the Olympics. Ultimately, Hadzic did not compete on behalf of his team in Tokyo.
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