With Fist Raised, Gwen Berry's Protest Echoes Past And Present

Screen Shot 2019-08-13 at 1.59.15 PM.png

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

A day after she raised her fist during the national anthem, Gwen Berry had a meeting in Lima, Peru, with officials from the USOPC and USATF. 

Berry, fresh off a gold medal in the women’s hammer throw at the Pan American Games, was told that her protest was in violation of IOC Rule 50, which prohibits demonstrations during the Games. Officials told Berry they respected her opinions and asked if she was aware of the rule. 

Berry said yes. 

The 30-year-old is not new to national teams. She competed for the United States at the 2017 World Championships and 2016 Olympics and is familiar with the contract that requires her signature. 

“I know what I did and I know I broke the rules and I’ll make that sacrifice. I’m honored to make that sacrifice,” Berry said. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, the USOPC didn’t go into next steps, or what a possible punishment might look like, but Berry knows that stripping of her medal is a possibility. 

“They didn’t give me a time. They just said be ready,” Berry said. 

“If I was afraid to sacrifice my medal for a bigger cause I wouldn’t have done what I did. But for me, I feel that right is right and wrong is wrong,” Berry said. “I feel that what I did was right.”

The raised fist drew parallels to Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. On Saturday, Berry didn’t raise her fist until the final line, "O’er the land of the free."

“I felt like those words--the last words--mean a lot to every American,” Berry said. 

“I did it because I wanted to salute the people in America who’ve lost their lives, who’ve faced so many injustices over the last couple years. All the violence that is going on, it’s just crazy.”

While outward displays of social activism across sports have been on the rise in the United States in recent years, it’s been less common in track and field. In 2018, 400m runner David Verburg raised his fist before the start of his race at the Millrose Games

“A lot of people have a lot of things to lose. Not saying that I don’t, but people have kids to feed, people have bills to pay and sometimes those types of rules put fear in people, for a good reason,” Berry said. 

“Track and field is still considered amateur in the United States of America. We don’t have big contracts. We don’t get paid a lot of money," Berry said. “I feel like if you are already struggling to even do something that you’re passionate about and not get paid for it, why would you make things worse for yourself?” 

Berry, who qualified for the World Championships after her runner-up finish at the USATF Championships, hasn’t decided if she will protest at the biggest meet of the year.

“I don’t know what will come from this. I hope track and field athletes do become more vocal, but only how they choose to be vocal. I don’t want anybody to sacrifice what they are not willing or ready to sacrifice.”

Jacob Kiplimo Runs 7:26 To Beat Jakob Ingebrigtsen In Rome 3k

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 12.34.15 PM.png

(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Mondo Duplantis Clears 6.15m To Break Outdoor Pole Vault WR

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 1.03.34 PM.png

Mondo Duplantis has now set the indoor and outdoor pole vault world records in 2020 after the 20-year-old cleared 6.15m in his second attempt on Thursday in Rome.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

NCAA XC Champs Scheduled For March 15, But Hurdles Remain

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 10.31.31 AM.png

The NCAA Division I Council has approved a proposal to hold the cross country national championships on March 15, 2021, although conflicts with indoor and outdoor track and field could still stymie the plan, the NCAA announced on Wednesday.

FloSports Partners With Rx Sports

5f623077828e9.jpg

FloSports has partnered with Rx Sports, producer of world-class CBD products, perfect for your training recovery needs.

Ryan Crouser Is Having One Of The Best Seasons In Track & Field History

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

If there was such a thing as a shot put video game, you could say that Ryan Crouser is putting up video game numbers in 2020. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Under Attack, Men's T&F Teams Are Told Not To Fight Back

USATSI_10690324_168385907_lowres.jpg

As men’s NCAA track and field programs have been cut en masse in 2020, alumni have consistently emerged as the most powerful voices of resistance against the institutions they once represented. 

University Of Minnesota Is Cutting Men's Track And Field

Obsa Ali

Citing a projected revenue loss of $75 million, the University of Minnesota announced on Thursday that they will be cutting men’s indoor and outdoor track and field upon the conclusion of the 2020-2021 school year. A formal decision is pending approval by the Board of Regents, but the move is expected to be implemented.

NCAA Oversight Committee Recommends March XC Champs

Weini Kelati

On Wednesday, the Division I Competition Oversight Committee recommended that the NCAA Cross Country Championships take place on March 15, 2021, with field sizes of 255 per gender, according to a report from the committee.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Johannes Vetter Launches 97.76m Javelin, Second Best In History

Johannes Vetter

2017 world champion Johannes Vetter of Germany launched the second best javelin throw in history on Sunday in Chorzów, Poland, with his massive 97.76m heave, the top mark in over 24 years.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Peres Jepchirchir Sets Women-Only Half-Marathon WR

Jepchirchir_Peres_On_Course_Prague_05-Sep-2020.jpg

Just hours after Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands broke the world one-hour record on the track in Brussels, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya broke the women-only world record for the half-marathon in Letná Park in Prague in the elite-only Prague 21.1 KM.  The petite athlete from Kapsabet clocked 1:05:34, smashing the ratified World Athletics record of 1:06:11 set by Netsanet Gudeta at the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships in Valencia in March, 2018.

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In