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Costa Rican gymnast, an Olympic first, lauded for Black Lives Matter tribute

People online are applauding Luciana Alvarado's performance — and her message, after she made history as the first gymnast from her country to go to the Olympics.
Image: Luciana Alvarado
Luciana Alvarado, of Costa Rica, performs her floor exercise routine during the women's artistic gymnastics qualifications at the Tokyo Olympics, on July 25, 2021, in Tokyo. Ashley Landis / AP

Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado paid a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement in her historic Olympic performance.

Alvarado, the first gymnast from Costa Rica to qualify for the Olympics, finished her floor routine Sunday at the Tokyo Games by taking a knee, placing her left hand behind her back and raising her right fist into the air.

The 18-year-old's demonstration is the first of its kind on an international stage in elite gymnastics, according to NBC Olympics. Alvarado said the end of her routine was choreographed to highlight the importance of equal rights on a global stage, as she told The Associated Press after performing the move.

“Because we’re all the same,” she said, “and we’re all beautiful and amazing.”

The gymnast explained in the podcast GymCastic why doing the pose on the world's biggest sporting stage was significant, adding that both she and her cousin do it in their routines.

Alvarado said she felt that if she did "something that brings everyone together," it adds to the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect and recognizing everyone has the same rights.

Luciana Alvarado, of Costa Rica, performs her floor exercise routine. Gregory Bull / AP

And though she scored a 12.166 on the floor, which did not allow her to move forward to the finals, people online are applauding her Olympic routine.

"I cannot help but feel proud," one Twitter user said in Spanish. "Congratulations #LucianaAlvarado, who has moved us with her final #blacklivesmatter."

"Great #LucianaAlvarado!" another Twitter user shared in Spanish.

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The Associated Press contributed.