The three fencers of the U.S. Men’s Olympic team all wore pink masks when they arrived in Tokyo on Friday to participate in the first match against Japan.
But the harmonized masks are no coincidence-they are three people targeting Teammate accused of sexual assault, A source close to the team told BuzzFeed News.
Photos shared on social media showed that three of the men’s epee team’s four athletes-Jack Hoyle, Curtis McDowald and Jessel Ramirez-were wearing pink Mask while teammates Alan Hadzic -Under investigation for sexual assault-Wearing black.
“This contempt is obvious,” a source told BuzzFeed News.
Despite facing at least three allegations of past sexual misconduct, Hadzic was selected as a substitute for the men’s epee team for the 2020 Olympics, which caused frustration and anger from the US fencers. For details, please see BuzzFeed News Survey.
His joining prompted six female fencers, including two Olympic athletes, to urge the Olympic Committee not to let him represent the United States because they said his presence was a “direct insult” to other athletes and put them in danger .
“We are very worried about the impact of Mr. Hadzic’s potential presence on other U.S. team athletes,” the women wrote on May 20
Although the American Safety Sports Center, a non-profit organization responsible for protecting athletes from abuse, suspended Hadzic’s participation in the Olympics last month due to an investigation, he tried to lift the ban through arbitration.
The American Fencing Organization has developed a “safety plan” to keep Hadzic away from women and the Olympic Village, which includes his travels and separation from his teammates.
He was also forbidden to practice with his female teammates.
USA Fencing did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the pink mask.
But this stunt won the praise of Ibtihaj Muhammad, an American fencer and 2016 Olympic medalist.
“Thank you for the team’s statement,” she wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Although Hadzic did not participate on Friday, the team lost to the Japanese team and ranked 9th.