One United States athlete just gave us a preview of what might happen at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Fox News reports that Gwen Berry, a U.S. track and field athlete, decided to do some protesting during the playing of the National Anthem during the U.S. Olympic track and field trials that are being held.
At the U.S. Olympic track and field trials there is a routine in which the U.S. National Anthem is played once each night around 5 pm.
It just so happens that the anthem played on Saturday at the same time that Berry was standing on a podium. She had just received the bronze medal in the hammer throw.
The first and second-place finishers, DeAnna Price and Brooke Andersen, respectively, stood there as the anthem played with their hands over their hearts looking ahead at the American flag. But, not Berry.
As Fox reports, “While the music played, Berry placed her left hand on her hip and shuffled her feet. She took a quarter turn, so she was facing the stands, not the flag. Toward the end, she plucked up her black T-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” emblazoned on the front, and draped it over her head.”
The outlet reports that this particular incident didn’t receive any reaction from the crowd, which, at the time, was still filling into the stands.
“The anthem doesn’t speak for me”
Berry, subsequently, commented on the situation. She said that she felt that “it was a set-up” and that she was upset about it.
“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,” Berry said. “But 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.”
Susan Hazzard, a spokeswoman for U.S. Track and Field, however, said that this was not the case, that the anthem played as scheduled.
Berry has promised to use her platform during the Tokyo Olympics to speak out against “systemic racism.” She has indicated that winning is not her primary goal.
The International Olympic Committee is expected during the Tokyo Olympics to enforce its Rule 50. This rule bans demonstrations during the Olympics, and so, if Berry does proceed as planned, she could find herself being sent home. It remains to be seen how big of an issue this might become during the upcoming Olympics.