Athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics are NOT allowed to participate in any protests or demonstrations on the field of play, during an official ceremony or at the podium ... and those who do will be punished.
The International Olympic Committee revealed its policy for the Summer Games on Wednesday -- saying it spent 11 months consulting with various experts and athletes before drawing up its plan.
The main takeaway ... the IOC says after polling more than 3,500 elite athletes and Olympians ranging in age from 16 to 55+, it became obvious the "majority" are in favor of strict rules against demonstrations.
"A very clear majority of athletes said that they think it's not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play, at the official ceremonies or at the podium," IOC Athletes' Commission chief Kirsty Coventry said.
"So our recommendation is to preserve the podium, field of play and official ceremonies from any kind of protest or demonstrations or acts perceived as such."
What happens if an athlete violates the rule?
The IOC is currently working with the Legal Affairs Commission to "come out with a range of different sanctions so everyone knows what everyone can and cannot do."
In other words, they're still figuring out what the punishments will be.
The IOC announcement comes weeks after the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee decided it will NOT punish athletes who take a knee -- or engage in any other sort of peaceful protest -- at the Olympic trials.