Olympic athlete Gwen Berry chose the Olympic qualifiers to turn her back on America and to drape a flannel over it with the message “activist athlete.”
Berry, who ranked third, qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, was the only one of the qualifiers to turn away from the flag and anthem at the awards ceremony. DeAnna Price and Brooke Andersen, first and second place winners respectively, paid proper respect to the symbols. But Berry, instead of celebrating, decided to use the moment to engage in political activism and speak out against the country she will curiously represent.
The information provided by ESPN is that at the moment the Star-Sprangled Banner anthem began to play the activist athlete turned around and put her hand on her waist. However, Berry denounced a delay in the anthem and claimed the mistake was intentional. “I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,” she said.
Berry, who disavowed national symbols, claimed she is in the competition to “represent those who died because of systemic racism.” Still, the athlete entered a competition to represent the nation and the symbols she accuses of being systemically racist.
“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,” the athlete added.
“Stop playing games with me,” she wrote on her Twitter account with the photo of the controversial moment.
The athlete has had this type of behavior in the past that has earned her sanctions. In 2019, she had a similar attitude by raising her fist, a gesture linked to the Black Power movement during the national anthem. In other posts on his social media, Berry also demanded reparations.
Despite the seriousness with which the athlete took this act, the jokes were not long in coming either. Australian writer Rita Panahi tweeted a montage of the image replacing Berry with Hunter Biden.
Another anonymous user responded to the athlete with images of African-American boxer George Foreman waving the American flag after winning the gold medal in 1968, other messages pointed out to her that if she was not comfortable with the U.S. flag, perhaps she should not represent the country.
Political activism by athletes will not be tolerated at the Tokyo Games
According to the International Olympic Committee, Berry’s – or any other athlete’s – plans to bring such political gestures to the Games will not be allowed.
The Committee’s Rule 50 prohibits any kind of “political, religious or racial demonstration or propaganda” at venues and any other Olympic area, and the Games body concluded that the rule should stand after consultation with athletes.
“We believe,” the Committee itself explains, “that the focus at the Olympic Games should remain on athlete performance, sport and the international unity and harmony that the Olympic Movement seeks to promote.”