As the first gymnast from Costa Rica to ever qualify to the Olympics, Luciana Alvarado made history before she even stepped into Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
The 18-year-old then used her unique platform to make a demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. At the end of her floor routine, Alvarado took a knee, put her left arm behind her back and raised her right fist to the sky. The pose combines movements that other athletes across multiple sports have utilized to convey their stances on current events. The demonstration begins around 1:28 in the video of her performance.
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After podium training, Alvarado confirmed to the podcast GymCastic that the pose was intentional.
“My cousin and I, we both do it in our routines,” she said. “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."
Alvarado’s demonstration is the first of its kind on an international stage in elite gymnastics. The pose is a part of her floor choreography, and she performed the routine during the fourth subdivision of the women’s artistic gymnastics qualifications.