Gwen Berry, a US hammer thrower, has responded to criticisms about refusing to wave the flag while she was on the podium at Olympic trials. She stated that she “never said I hated the country.”
Berry was third at Saturday’s trials in Eugene (Oregon) to be eligible for the second Olympics. These will take place in Tokyo next month.
The flag was raised and she turned her back. During the medal ceremony, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, was played. She then wore a T-shirt with the words “activist atheist” on it.
Berry later stated that she was “set up” at the podium after being told that the anthem would play before the ceremony. USA Track and Field (USATF), however, has not yet responded to requests to comment. However, Reuters reports that it claimed the anthem was played every day according to a prearranged schedule. Berry acknowledged on social media that she was subject to a lot of criticism for her actions. Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Ted Cruz are also her critics. The latter calls for Dan Crenshaw to be dropped from the Olympic team at 32 years old.
“I never said I didn’t want the Olympic Games. Berry said that he competed, and came third in the team selections.
“I never said I hated the country. I only said that I respected my people enough not to acknowledge anything that discredits them. “I love my people, point-blank.”
Berry stated that Berry had not heard of the anthem being performed while the athletes were standing on the podium. This is why Berry believed it was a set-up. The anthem was played only once during trials.
Berry stated that Berry intended for us to be introduced to the crowd before or after singing the national anthem. “If I had the choice, or knew I was going up on the podium, I would choose something else.”
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said that Berry had not spoken to President Joe Biden regarding Berry’s actions Monday.
Psaki said that he is proud to be an American, and has great respect and admiration for the anthem and everything it stands for, especially for those who serve in uniform around the globe.
He would also add, “Of course, part of that pride in the country means acknowledging that there are times when we, as a nation, haven’t lived up to our highest ideals.” It means respecting the constitutional rights of peaceful protestors.
Berry has been supported by past and current athletes, including the US triple jumper Will Claye.
“Gwen. I stand behind you. I hope one day people in this country realize that all you do is for the LOVE and not for this country.” Claye also qualified for the US team. posted on Twitter.
Michael Johnson, the four-time Olympic gold Medalist, wrote: “1) It’s hard to deny her (Berry) courage standing up and supporting her beliefs despite the backlash. 2) USA identities are an example of freedom, which includes the right to stand, kneel, or peacefully protest when the anthem is played.
At the trials, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee allowed athletes to participate in “respectful demonstrations about the topic of race and social justice”. However, a ban will be in effect at the Tokyo Olympics.
After raising her fist to protest at the podium at the Pan American Games, Peru in 2019, Berry lost some of the sponsorships.
The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee gave her 12-month probation for the act. She said it was intended to raise awareness of American social injustice.