Tokyo Stadium was empty, void of the fans who would typically cheer throughout an Olympic rugby match. None of the athletes representing Canada or Brazil spoke, but there was no language barrier when the teams came together to make a statement.
Prior to facing off on Day 7 of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the women knelt together in a demonstration against racial inequality. It is not the first time athletes at these Olympic games have used their platforms to express support for social movements. Gymnast Luciana Alvarado ended her floor exercise routine with a demonstration that she confirmed was intentionally choregraphed to display her support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The 18-year-old concluded her performance by taking a knee, putting her left arm behind her back and raising her right fist to the sky.
Soccer players representing the U.S. and Sweden also knelt together before their game on July 21.