Hammer thrower Gwen Berry claimed she was the victim of a “set-up” after she was seen turning away from the Stars and Stripes as the national anthem played while she collected her bronze medal at the US Olympic track and field trials.
The American hammer thrower qualified for her second Olympics on Saturday with a throw of 241 feet and 2 inches, finishing third in the event behind DeAnna Price and Brooke Andersen. All three of them headed to Tokyo became a footnote when Berry turned away from the American flag and raising a T-shirt reading “Activist Athlete” over her face.
She expanded on that thought with the Post:
“I feel like it was set up,” Berry said with a burst of laughter. “I feel like they did that on purpose, and I was pissed, to be honest. I was thinking about what should I do. Eventually, I just stayed there and just swayed. I put my shirt over my head. It was real disrespectful. I know they did that on purpose, but it’ll be all right. I see what’s up.”
Unlike the Olympics, the national anthem is not played during medal ceremonies at the Olympic trials. It is only played once a day, and just happened to play when Berry, who has made headlines for protesting during the anthem, took the podium.
Back in 2019, she was heavily sanctioned and lost sponsors when she raised a closed fist on the medal podium after capturing gold in the Pan American Games.
The organizers of the Olympic trials insisted to ESPN that it was merely a coincidence they played the national anthem during the medal ceremony.
“USA Track and Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard said “the national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today. We didn’t wait until the athletes were on the podium for the hammer throw awards. The national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule.” On Saturday, the music started at 5:25.”
Berry told the Post she hasn’t decided how she might protest in Tokyo, but promised “I’ll figure out something to do.”