July 28, 2021

Gwen Berry steps away from the US flag as the national anthem is played

(CNN) — Hammer thrower Gwen Berry says the performance of the national anthem while on the podium at the US Olympic track and field events was “prepared.”

Berry turned away from the flag to look at the stands as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played during the medal ceremony on Saturday. Then a T-shirt with the words “activist athlete” was pulled over his head.

Berry, who ranked third in the hammer event at the Eugene, Ore., Trials, earned a spot on Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics, which begin next month.

I feel like I was ready. I feel like they did it on purpose, and I was mad, to be honest, ”Berry said of the anthem that was playing while on the podium.

I was thinking about what I should do. In the end, I stood there and swayed. I pulled my shirt over my head. It was a real lack of respect. I know they did it on purpose, but everything will be fine. I see what happens ».

The anthem was scheduled says the USATF

USA Track and Field (USATF) did not respond to CNN requests for comment, but according to Reuters, it said the anthem was played each day at rehearsals according to a pre-set schedule.

“We did not wait until the athletes stepped onto the podium to receive the hammer throw awards,” said USATF spokeswoman Susan Hazzard. “We are delighted with the women’s hammer throwing team that was selected for the Games.”

The anthem has been played once each night during the tryouts.

Berry shows a jersey on the podium at the Olympic trials.

“They said they were going to put it on before we left, then they played it when we were there,” Berry said, according to ESPN.

But I really don’t want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important. The hymn does not speak for me. He never did”.

On Instagram, Berry added a caption alongside photos of himself on the podium, saying, “I said what I said… I meant what I said… STOP PLAYING WITH ME !! POINT!”.

Then on Twitter, Berry said that comments on social media show that “even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others, the false commercials, statements and feelings about the lives of blacks were just a hoax.”

Berry had been sanctioned

In 2019, Berry lost some of his endorsements after raising his fist in protest for the podium at the Pan American Games in Peru.

She received a 12-month conditional suspension on a sanction from the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee for the act, which she claimed was intended to highlight racial injustice in the United States.

“For me, it was extremely devastating because they cut off all my income,” Berry, 31, told CNN about the situation last year.

“Competing, going abroad, going to competitions, getting cash prizes and finally getting the Olympic team to help me, help my family, help my community.”

In an open letter to athletes earlier this year, the executive director of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Sarah Hirshland, described how “respectful demonstrations on the subject of racial and social justice” would be allowed in the events. Olympic and Paralympic.

“While we support your right to demonstrate peacefully in support of racial and social justice, we cannot control the actions others may take in response,” the letter said.

However, “protests and demonstrations” will be prohibited at the Tokyo Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ratifies Rule 50, which states that “no political, religious or racial demonstration or propaganda is allowed in no site, places or other areas. ‘