U.S. hammer thrower Gwen Berry entered the Olympic Stadium Tuesday night by raising her right fist twice to basically make her announcement that she would take full advantage of the International Olympic Committee’s relaxed rules allowing freedom of speech prior to the start of play.
“It was the same thing,” she said.
Berry, who finished in 11th place out of 12 competitors, added, “social injustice, racial injustice, I’m just here to represent. 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 scared to speak out. So as long as I can represent those people, I’m fine.”
The 32-year-old took issue with the IOC for saying it was looking into Raven Saunders’ demonstration, who raised an ‘X’ with her arms “for oppressed people,” after the anthem was played for the Chinese gold medalist.
“I think it’s ridiculous that the IOC is really paying attention to that,” Berry said, “only because she did it towards the end of everything. They literally took their picture, she literally respected everybody on the podium. It was right before they were going off the podium (that she raised her arms and made an X) at the end. I feel she should not be punished so I hope the USOPC supports her and fights for her so she keeps her medal and she’s supported.”
After her disappointing finish, she took some time to address the people who were watching and waiting for her to fail.
“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?” she said.
“I feel like my body just didn’t work and I was shutting down too much,” she said. “When it came time to be clutch, I just didn’t trust myself enough to go. But it happens. I made my first legal throw in the second final of my life so I’m not mad at myself. I conquered a lot of fears today.”
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