• June 27, 2021

US Track & Field Athlete Turns His Back During National Anthem at Olympic Trials – HotAir

I think I know what this week’s partisan culture war conflict will be. Tucker’s monologue tomorrow night will be illuminated.

There is no video of this yet until noon ET, but there are photos:

The Daily mail has additional photos of what happened at the Olympic track and field events that took place last week in Oregon. Gwen Berry’s event is the hammer throw; she didn’t win, but she did take bronze, which was good enough to pierce her ticket to Tokyo. “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not played during podium ceremonies at national events for the obvious reason that everyone competing is American. But they play it once a day, and yesterday it happened at the moment when the medalists in the hammer throw were on the podium.

Berry, an outspoken activist who has been sanctioned once before for demonstrating at track events, I thought it was not a coincidence:

Gwen Berry pulled away from the American flag and pulled a T-shirt over her face as the national anthem played on Saturday, minutes after she qualified for the Olympic team at the US track and field events in Eugene, Oregon. . Berry has demonstrated on the podium before, but her impromptu protest Saturday came only after what she called a “cheating” by meeting officials …

“I feel like it was a setup,” Berry said with a laugh. “I feel like they did it on purpose, and I was angry, to be honest. I was thinking about what I should do. In the end, I just stood there and staggered. I pulled my shirt over my head. It was a real lack of respect. I know they did it on purpose, but it will be fine. I see what happens. “…

“It was fun because they said they were going to play before we left,” Berry said. “It just so happened that they played it when we were there. So, you know, it’s okay. I really don’t want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important. The hymn does not speak for me. It never has.

It was almost certainly a coincidence. They have been playing the hymn to mark the start of the evening session at around the same time throughout the week. Yesterday was scheduled to play at 5:20 pm local time and finished playing at 5:25, when Berry was on the stand. You can’t believe the US Olympic Committee. wants the distraction of a bitter political controversy weeks before the Tokyo games began, to the point where she was baited by waiting to play the anthem until she was on the field.

And yet he seems to believe that.

Like I say, she has protested at events before. Two years ago at the Pan American Games he took gold in the hammer throw and reacted like this:

The US Olympic Committee put her on probation for a year for that, as political demonstrations on the field were prohibited by the rules. But then they changed their minds. Last summer, amid national BLM protests, the Committee he apologized to Berry. In March of this year, formally changed the rules. Protests are now allowed if they aim to “promote the human dignity of individuals or groups that have historically been underrepresented, minority or marginalized in their respective social contexts.” That means kneeling during the anthem, raising your fist, or wearing BLM or pro-trans gear. Berry took advantage a few days ago, raising his fist at the olympic trials on Thursday. So did American track star Noah Lyles, who he wore a black glove when he made the gesture during presentations at the same event.

The problem for Berry and Lyles is that the International Olympic Committee, which will oversee the Tokyo games, has yet to change its policy of banning demonstrations. IOC chief Thomas Bach voiced his opposition to political activism on the ground in an opinion piece last October but he had a selfish motive for doing it. Bach’s organization faces possible boycotts by Western nations of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China to protest the CCP’s human rights abuses. His strategy to avoid that is, or was, to insist that games must be carefully politically neutral. It’s about sport:

The Olympic Games have to do, first of all, with sport. Athletes embody the values ​​of excellence, solidarity and peace. They express this inclusion and mutual respect also by being politically neutral on the playing field and during ceremonies. Sometimes this focus on sport must be reconciled with the freedom of expression that all athletes also enjoy at the Olympic Games. This is why there are rules for the field of play and ceremonies that protect this sportsmanship. The unifying power of the Games can only develop if everyone is respectful and supportive of each other. Otherwise, the Games will descend into a market of demonstrations of all kinds, dividing and not uniting the world.

Will Bach and the IOC stick with that for the Tokyo games? Perhaps not: “The Athletes Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is discussing giving athletes permission to demonstrate, including raising their fists or grabbing the knee, at specific times and in certain areas prior to their competition in the Games.” a website reported two days ago. The key is “at specific times and in certain areas.” Under the proposed new rules, podium rallies are reportedly still banned. Which makes me wonder if the IOC is offering half a loaf to activist athletes like Berry and Lyles in hopes of avoiding further controversy. Berry told reporters yesterday that find a way to demonstrate in Tokyo. Bach may be thinking that the least bad outcome at this point is accommodating that impulse in exchange for channeling it away from the podium, at which point athletes have maximum visibility.

The question is why would Berry want to represent a country at the Olympics for which he feels so much contempt that he cannot face its flag while its national anthem is playing. “The hymn does not speak for me. It never has, ”he told reporters. Okay, but the Olympics are not the NFL. It is an international competition with national glory at stake. If you are embarrassed to be an American, why not stay out of the Games? Or why not apply to compete as an “independent athlete”, which the IOC allows in certain political circumstances?

Last year, in a video for the New York Times, he defended his desire to demonstrate during sporting events by arguing that athletes are not just athletes. They are human beings with political opinions. “Every athlete believes in something,” he says. Right, and yet most Olympians don’t prioritize their beliefs over their country’s honor at the Games. Berry is different.

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