Insert LinkGwen Berry has encouraged Olympic athletes to use their voices "not only for the sport but for our lives."
Berry took to Twitter to encourage athletes in "one last letter" before she "embarks on this journey to Tokyo."
"One last letter to my fellow Olympians before I embark on this journey to Tokyo. #SincerelyYours Athletes we MUST use our voices ... not only for the sport... but for our LIVES," she tweeted.
One last letter to my fellow Olympians before I embark on this journey to Tokyo. #SincerelyYours
Athletes we MUST use our voices .. not only for the sport.. but for our LIVES @uninterrupted #ActivistAthlete pic.twitter.com/YCWVE7H1MA
— Gwen Berry OLY (@MzBerryThrows) July 26, 2021
The tweet has caused quite the divide online with many arguing that the Olympics should be a sporting event and not a political one.
"How about leaving your politics out of the sports arena? One of the things I love the most about the Olympics is seeing different people, cultures, races, etc come together and compete. There is more beauty in the harmony and it is such a shining example in that," one person wrote in response to the tweet.
"You are there for sports and to represent a country that sent you there to compete - not play politics," said another.
Whereas, others have praised Berry's encouragement stating that people should "listen and learn" from it.
"I love this!!! Everyone needs to listen and learn. I am so proud to have you represent us and I STAND with you from little Tonganoxie KS to say I support you and am so excited to watch you compete. Be safe and God bless you," one person tweeted.
"Love your conviction to stand for justice and economic reparations for black people. Thank you! May other athletes be encouraged by your courage," said another.
Berry's message comes after Costa Rican gymnast, Luciana Alvarado, paid tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee and thrusting a clenched fist in the air at the end of her floor routine at the Games.
Berry herself faced criticism last month after she turned away from the U.S flag as The Star-Spangled Banner played during the Olympic Track and Field trials. She had just qualified for her second game when she turned away and draped a T-shirt reading the words "activist athlete" over her head during the ceremony.
"I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose," she said afterward, implying the song had been played in the stadium to force her into compliance. "I was p***ed, to be honest. They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there. I was thinking about what I should do. Eventually, I stayed there and I swayed, I put my shirt over my head."
USA Track and Field subsequently denied her accusation, saying the anthem was played in accordance with "a previously published schedule."