In what seems like a real-life version of the classic film Chariots of Fire, the Sabbath-observant Israeli runner Beatie Deutsch faces a predicament regarding the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Nathan Lewin explains:
[T]he marathons—initially slated for a Sunday in 2020—are now rescheduled for a Saturday in 2021. [Deutsch] is an award-winning marathon runner who competes in a skirt, headscarf, and elbow-length sleeves. She won the Life-Time Miami women’s half-marathon in February 2020. She will probably represent Israel in the Tokyo event, but she will be able to run only if the race is not held on Shabbat.
[Since] the age of sports stars’ political neutrality is gone, [now] is the opportunity for the American marathon team . . . to emulate the basketball and baseball all-stars [protesting for social justice]. They and other American competitors in the Olympics should notify the Japanese Olympic officials that they will race only if no religious barrier is imposed that might cast a shadow over the fairness of the contest.
The American runners who have qualified to run in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics surely do not want potential triumphs to be marred by the disqualification of a runner who can’t compete because the adjusted schedule—moving the marathon from Sunday to Saturday—made it impossible for her to race. They can, and should, forcefully communicate this message to the Tokyo organizers.