“I’ll represent the oppressed people,” said 2020 Tokyo Olympics athlete Gwendolyn Berry. Since her first protest three years ago during the Pan American Games in 2019 in which she raised her fist during the Star-Spangled Banner, the Team U.S.A. hammer thrower has made headlines for her protests during the National Anthem.
Last month, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics trials, Berry turned towards the camera and placed her hand on her hip as the Star-Spangled Banner played. Towards the end of the song, she placed a T-shirt over her head that read, “Activist Athlete.” During the Opening Ceremony, Berry turned away from the flag. She claimed that her actions are a statement regarding racial and social justice issues that face the nation today.
Despite how she feels towards the flag and the current condition of the country, Berry feels she has just as much of a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as any other American athlete.
“I feel like I’ve earned the right to wear this uniform,” Berry said after qualifying for the Games.
“I’m just focused on what I need to do,” the 2020 Tokyo Olympics athlete continued. “Because all those people who hate me, they aren’t here. So they can’t affect me.”
2020 Tokyo Olympics Athlete Said People ‘Try to Put Words in My Mouth’
Since her protests last month, the reaction to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics athlete’s actions have been passionate. Whether supporting or opposing Berry’s efforts, Twitter users seem to have all taken sides. Even Berry, herself, frequently joins in on the conversation, either to explain her efforts or respond to her opposers.
Even Ted Cruz shared his reaction, reposting an article on her and questioning, “Why does the Left hate America? Sure, we have our faults, but no nation in the history of the world has liberated more people from captivity, has lifted more out of poverty, has bled more for freedom, or has blessed more w/ abundance. God bless America.”
“I never said I hated this country,” Berry said on Twitter. “People try to put words in my mouth but they can’t. That’s why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE.”
Of course, many people also wondered what President Joe Biden thinks of Berry’s actions. In a press conference, secretary Jen Psaki revealed that the president would support the athlete’s efforts.
She stated that Biden is “incredibly proud to be an American and has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents, especially for our men and women serving in uniform all around the world.”
Psaki continued, “He would also say, of course, that part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we are, as a country, haven’t lived up to our highest ideals, and that means respecting the rights of people, granted to them in the Constitution, to peacefully protest.”