2020 Tokyo Olympics: US Athlete Gwen Berry Slams IOC Over Raven Saunders Probe

by Samantha Whidden

Following Raven Saunders making headlines for her ‘X’ arm gesture during the shot-put medal ceremony at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, fellow Team USA member Gwen Berry is now speaking her mind about the situation and slamming the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for even considering an investigation.

USA Today reports that after Saunders was expected to get an IOC review, Gwen entered the 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium Tuesday evening by raising her right fist twice. She also announced she will be taking advantage of the IOC’s relaxed rules that allow freedom of speech prior to the start of play. 

“It’s the same thing,” Berry explains about her gesture after her 2020 Tokyo Olympics performance, in which she placed in 11th place. “Social Justice, racial injustice, I’m just here to represent.”

Berry goes on to say, “I know a lot of people like me. A lot of athletes like me. A lot of people are scared to succeed, a lot of people are scared to speak out. So as long as I can represent them, I’m fine.”

Berry also criticized the IOC for stating it was looking into Saunders’ ‘X’ gesture, but didn’t say anything about it as it was happening. “I think it’s ridiculous that the IOC is really paying attention to that,” she observes. “They literally took their picture, she literally respected everybody on the podium.”

Berry adds she believes that Saunders shouldn’t be punished for the gesture. “I hope the USOPC supports her and fights for her so she keeps her medal and she’s supported.”

Berry’s Controversial Move Prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Last month, Berry made headlines when she protested during the national anthem at the U.S. Olympic Trials. During the medal ceremony, Berry turned away from the flag and covered her head with a shirt.

Berry stated she never said she didn’t want to go to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.“All I said was I respect my people enough to not stand for or acknowledge something that disrespects them. I love my people. Point blank, period.”

The shot-putter also says she felt like the national anthem’s timing felt like a set-up. A USA Track and Field spokesperson stated at the time, “The national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule.”

Berry also spoke to USA Today about her less than stellar performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “I feel like my body just didn’t work and I was shutting down too much,” she explains. “When it came time to be clutch, I just didn’t trust myself enough to go.”

In regards to her critics who cheered for her failure at the 2020 Tokyo Games, Berry adds, “All those people that’s happy that I failed, that’s cool. But they’re sitting on their couch, watching me fail. So what does that tell you about them?”