Outspoken race activist Gwen Berry took third in the US women’s Olympic hammer throwing trials.
Then she turned her back on the US Flag as the National Anthem played during the medal’s ceremony.
She said it was “a set-up.”
And when the anthem was still playing she pulled her T-shirt up over her head.
Gwen is a race activist known for her protests more than her career as an athlete.
For the past week, the national anthem has played one time per evening at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. On Saturday, the song happened to start while outspoken activist Gwen Berry was standing on the podium after receiving her bronze medal in the hammer throw.
While the music played, Berry placed her left hand on her hip and fidgeted. She took a quarter turn, so she was facing the stands, not the flag. Toward the end, she plucked up her black T-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” emblazoned on the front, and draped it over her head.
“I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said of the timing of the anthem. “I was pissed, to be honest.”
Berry’s reaction to the “Star-Spangled Banner” was as notable as anything on the track on a blazing-hot Saturday, the second-to-last day at U.S. Olympic trials. With temperatures reaching 101 degrees (38 Celsius) on the field, DeAnna Price won the event with a throw of 263 feet, 6 inches (80.31 meters), which was nearly 7 feet longer than Berry’s throw. Price broke the meet record on four of her six throws, and the last two of those throws also broke the American record.
In 2019 Gwen Berry raised her fist during the National Anthem at Pan Am Games.
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) August 11, 2019
Gwen also released this powerful video in April on racism.