U.S. Olympian Gwendolyn Berry’s contempt for the country she will have the honor to represent at the Tokyo Olympics next month was on full display on Saturday evening.
After she finished third in the hammer throwing event at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon, which guaranteed her a spot on Team USA, the top three finishers stood on the medal podium. “The Star-Bangled Banner” was played as winner DeAnna Price, second-place finisher Brooke Andersen and Berry waited to receive their medals.
As if it were kryptonite, Berry turned her back to the American flag, according to the New York Post. In case anyone missed her message, she held up a shirt that said “Activist Athlete.”
“Arrogant Athlete” would have been more accurate.
It turned out that Berry believed they played the national anthem just to spite her. Please get over yourself, Gwen.
Following the award ceremony, she told reporters, “I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose. I was pissed, to be honest.”
“They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there,” Berry said. “I was thinking about what I should do. Eventually I stayed there and I swayed, I put my shirt over my head. It was real disrespectful.”
“I didn’t really want to be up there,” the 31-year-old Olympian added. “Like I said, it was a setup. I was hot, I was ready to take my pictures and get into some shade.”
She didn’t really want to be up there?
“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,” Berry said. “But I don’t really want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important. The anthem doesn’t speak for me. It never has.”
“My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports,” she said. “I’m here to represent those … who died due to systemic racism. That’s the important part. That’s why I’m going. That’s why I’m here today.”
Imagine being salty the national anthem was played…at the US Olympic Trials 🤔
— Chris Pyzik (@cpyzik) June 27, 2021
She’s a hammer thrower who won a bronze medal at an Olympic trial, for goodness sake.
USA Today contacted USA Track and Field to find out if it had played the anthem to “set up” Berry.
The organization’s managing director of communications, Susan Hazzard, replied by email: “The national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today.”
Hazzard continued: “We didn’t wait until the athletes were on the podium for the hammer throw awards, the national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule. We’re thrilled with the women’s hammer throw team that selected themselves for the Games.”
What is wrong with people?
Growing up, everyone stood for the American flag. Didn’t matter your politics, race, sex, income, religion; everyone stood for the flag. It was one of those civic rituals that brought us together. It still should today. 🇺🇸https://t.co/sCidRZr05T
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) June 27, 2021
The International Olympic Committee “prohibits protests and demonstrations on the field of play,” according to USA Today. However, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee recently changed its rules and now allows protests at the Olympic trials.
This was not Berry’s first protest. She raised her fist while the national anthem was being played at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in August 2019, and was put on probation.
In June 2020, Berry said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland apologized to her “for not understanding the severity of the impact her decisions had on me,” according to NBC News.
“I am grateful to Gwen for her time and her honesty last night,” Hirshland said in a statement. “I heard her. I apologized for how my decisions made her feel and also did my best to explain why I made them.
“Gwen has a powerful voice in this national conversation, and I am sure that together we can use the platform of Olympic and Paralympic sport to address and fight against systematic inequality and racism in our country.”
We’re going to see more of this. It’s going to make patriotic Americans cheer for foreign competitors and against the anti-American Americans.
Hammer thrower Gwen Berry turns away from flag while anthem plays at trials – ‘I feel like it was a set-up’ https://t.co/TnIFwzy5Fh
— Dinesh D’Souza (@DineshDSouza) June 27, 2021
If Gwendolyn Berry hates America so much, why doesn’t she leave? What country wouldn’t welcome a gifted hammer thrower? It’s such an important skill, after all.
Because she knows she would quickly find out what real racism looks like. She also knows there’s no country in the world where black people have more freedom, privilege or opportunities than in America.
Berry would do well to remember that fans don’t watch sporting events because they care about the athlete’s political beliefs.
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