The ban against protests at the Tokyo 2020 games is complete B.S. -- so says Olympic legend Sanya Richards-Ross who can't wait for an athlete to violate the "unfair" policy.
"I'm outraged," Richards-Ross said Thursday on "TMZ Live" while explaining why it's ridiculous for the IOC to expect athletes to separate sports and politics, especially at the Olympics.
"I understand that people think of sports as a place to escape. They want to get away from the politics and all of the things happening in life ... but the truth is, minorities, black people, marginalized people don't get to escape their reality. They don't get to escape their Blackness."
As we previously reported, the International Olympic Committee -- which oversees the Olympic games -- announced its policy this week forbidding athletes to demonstrate during competition, at the podium or at an official Olympics ceremony. Anyone who violates the rule will face disciplinary action.
Richards-Ross -- one of the greatest sprinters of all time (she's got 4 gold medals from 3 different Olympics!) -- believes the threats of severe punishment will NOT deter all of the athletes who are hoping to use the Games to send a message to the world.
"I think that the athletes that feel compelled will do it regardless," Richards-Ross told the guys on "TMZ Live" ... "Good luck with people paying fines for being able to express themselves."
So, what is the IOC afraid of?
Sanya says she always hears officials talk about protests being a "distraction from the performances" ... but she begs to differ.
"I think that it adds to the competition. I think that it shows what people are passionate about. It gives you more depth of what the athletes are feeling.
"And, so, I just think ultimately the IOC thinks it's a distraction and I think it's an unfortunate decision."