Hammer Thrower Berry Turns Away from U.S. Flag During Anthem

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Hammer thrower, Gwen Berry, is making headlines.

via Getty

How come? Because during the U.S. Olympic trials on Saturday, Berry turned away from the American flag while on the podium for the event’s medal ceremony.
The athlete was previously suspended back in 2019 for twelve months when she raised her fist into the air at the Pan American Games.

However, before Thursday’s qualifying round, she did the same thing again, as part of her quest for social change.

via Getty

Back in March, the USOPC said that athletes competing in the U.S. Olympic trials can protest, including kneeling or raising a clenched fist on the podium or at the start line during the national anthem.
And when the Star Spangled Banner played on Saturday, Berry turned her back to the flag.

She placed her left hand on her hip before facing the stands and pulling up a black T-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” across the back.

Berry finished third to make her second U.S. Olympic team – however she said her move was not a message although she was upset at the timing of U.S. national anthem.
Speaking about her decision to turn away, Berry said:
I feel like it was a setup. I felt like they did it on purpose.

Berry added:


I was pissed, 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. It was real disrespectful.


“It really wasn’t a message. I didn’t really want to be up there. Like I said, it was a setup. I was hot, I was ready to take my pictures and get into some shade.”

Berry added that her mission is bigger than her sport.
She explained:
Me being able to represent my communities and my people, and those that have died at the hands of police brutality, those that have died to this systemic racism. That’s the important part, that’s why I’m going and that’s why I was here today.