All the world is a stage and the athletes upon it merely protesters.
So runs the logic of U.S. Olympian Gwen Berry, who on Sunday advanced to the finals of the hammer throw in the Tokyo Games.
Berry, who indulged in a much-publicized protest of the national anthem at the Olympic track and field trials in June and was put on probation for a year for a raised-fist protest in 2019’s Pan Am Games, was asked what antics might lie ahead for the world to witness should she win a medal on Tuesday.
“I haven’t given it much thought because it’s easy,” she said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to represent, and that’s it.”
Berry said her first goal is to win a gold medal and her second is to do her best. The Olympian said social justice wins the bronze medal of her priorities.
“My third goal is just to represent, man,” she said. “Represent the oppressed people. That’s been my message for the last three years.”
Berry said the United States, the nation she represents, is in the greatest need of repair.
“Just making sure that I bring awareness to the situations that are going on around the world, but especially in America with oppression and social injustice, for sure,” she said.
Berry’s comments sparked a reaction.
#GwenBerry says she will again dishonor the flag if she wins a medal. saying she’s “earned the right” to wear US colors. True. She also carries the responsibilities, which include finding ways to “represent the oppressed” that do not insult the country. https://t.co/9Y8mVUBytP
— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) August 1, 2021
Pretty sad when we are given just cause not to root for someone from the USA, at the Olympics
Team USA’s Gwen Berry Says She Will Stage Protest If She Medals At Olympics: ‘I’ll Represent The Oppressed People’
— 911DispatchMom (@Dispatcher805) August 1, 2021
Athletes that aren’t excited, proud and respectful to represent their country shouldn’t be surprised when their country isn’t excited, proud and respectful to be represented by them. We’ve also earned the right to find you wanting. #olympics #gwenberry https://t.co/essanjUFFW
— Bill Carey (@BillCar79944600) August 1, 2021
Berry insisted that she was “targeted” at the Olympic trials because the national anthem — which she detests — was played, and she said the media was in cahoots with it all.
“I feel like they capitalized off their moment because they knew how I would react, almost like they were waiting on me to make the team,” she said, according to The Washington Post. “So somebody pressed the button to play the national anthem, and I’m going to stay true to who I am.”
“I brought awareness to the situation that I feel like is important to focus on. I don’t feel like it was important to focus on me not standing for the flag or whatever, but what my message is,” Berry said. “I’ve just been compartmentalizing it and I’m just focused on what I need to do.”
She said she is fine in the comparative isolation of the spectator-free Olympics.
“All those people who hate me, they aren’t here, so they can’t affect me,” she said.
Berry has said she is proud to wear the uniform of a nation she says is racist.
“I feel like I’ve earned the right to wear this uniform,” she said, according to Fox News.
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