Despite what people may think, hammer thrower Gwen Berry is extremely proud to wera the red, white, and the blue uniform with the letters “USA” emblazoned across the chest.
“I feel like I’ve earned the right to wear this uniform,” she said Sunday, after making it safely through her qualifying round in her first appearance at the Tokyo Games.
If she so happens to do well enough to make it to the medla stand, Berry promised she would do what she has been doing whenever the spotlight shines her way.
“I’ll represent the oppressed people,” she said. “That’s been my message for the last three years.”
The 32-year-old raised her fist two years ago on the medals stand at the Pan American Games and she sparked a fire storm of criticism last month when she turned away from the flag while the national anthem played during the medals ceremony.
“I feel like they used that moment to take away from athletes who were on the podium because they knew how I’d respond,” she said.
None of that matters to her this week in Tokyo as she only has winning on her mind.
“I’m just focused on what I need to do,” Berry said. “Because all those people who hate me, they aren’t here. So they can’t affect me.”