American Olympian Gwen Berry, who turned her back on the American flag during the Olympics trial in June and had raised her fist in the air twice as a mark of protest before entering the hammer throw finals on Tuesday, ended up in the eleventh place out of twelve competitors, registering a distance of 71.35 meters.
But the humiliating defeat did not deter her from explaining why she had raised her fist in protest.
“It was the same thing: social injustice, racial injustice,” the athlete later explained to the media. “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 are scared to speak out. So as long as I can represent those people, I’m fine.”
The gesture of protest came after the 32-year-old Olympian, in her post-qualifier interview on Saturday, said that should she win a medal in her event on Tuesday, she would make a politically charged statement from the podium.
Prominent Americans and social media users express glee at Berry’s humiliating show at the Olympics
Nevertheless, a raft of Americans on Twitter, including notable personalities, could not hide their glee at the mortifying defeat of Gwen Berry at the Tokyo Olympics. Several of them commented that those who do not respect their country or insult their flag deserved to lose at the Olympics.
Actress Alana Stewart said if athletes who knelt or turned their backs would have respected the flag and their country, they would have possibly performed better and gotten the support of the American public.
Perhaps if #GwenBerry, #MeganRapinoe, and the other athletes who knelt or turned their backs would have respected their flag and country, they would have done better. If athletes aren’t proud of their country, then their country isn’t going to root for them. #Olympics
— Alana Stewart (@AlanaKStewart) August 4, 2021
American commentator Sean Hannity also expressed joy after Gwen Berry ended up at 11th place in the hammer throw competition. “Another Olympic athlete who clearly doesn’t seem to love the country she’s representing fell flat in the Olympics,” Hannity sharply remarked.
Sean Hannity celebrates American Gwen Berry being defeated at the Olympicshttps://t.co/utz4m4Jd22
— Media Matters (@mmfa) August 4, 2021
Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of ACT For America, a grassroots movement aimed at preserving America’s culture, sovereignty and security, commented that Berry failed to finish in the top 10 in hammer throwing.
Gwen Berry didn’t even finish in the top 10…in HAMMER THROWING.
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) August 3, 2021
Republican candidate Lavern Spicer said Berry’s loss is another victory for America.
Gwen Berry’s loss is another victory for America!🇺🇸 https://t.co/4P4kSOsRRv
— Lavern Spicer (@lavern_spicer) August 3, 2021
Others too joined in expressing their joy at Berry’s defeat.
Gwen Berry doesn’t medal at all, finishing 11th of 12 in finals, and the women’s soccer team is bounced down to Bronze medal game. I’m having a great week 🇺🇸
— GetOffMyLawn.357 (@JusticeAngel777) August 3, 2021
Newsome being recalled, Cuomo resigning, Women’s soccer flopped, Gwen Berry placed 11th, anymore good news I missed?
— S Graham. (@georgiapeach904) August 3, 2021
This was not the first time Americans were happy that one American athlete lost at the Olympics. Earlier, many Americans had celebrated when their women’s soccer team had lost to Canada. The citizens said that the football team has embraced the ‘woke’ ideology and therefore, deserved to lose. The celebration of the defeat of own athletes at the Tokyo Olympics by Americans themselves reveals the extent to which American society has become polarised.
Past antecedents of American Olympian Gwen Berry
Berry is not new to pulling off stunts. She presumes herself to be an activist of sorts, with her stunts giving expression to her protest against the supposed maladies afflicting American society.
Earlier in June, the hammer thrower had caused a stir during the medal ceremony at the Olympics trial. After the athlete won a bronze medal, she turned back on the American flag and held up a shirt that read “Activist Athlete”.
Later on, she was so infuriated that “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played during the celebration.
“If you know your history, you know the full song of the national anthem,” Berry said in an interview afterwards. “The third paragraph speaks to slaves in America — our blood being slain … all over the floor.”
In July, before the Olympics commenced, Berry vowed to “represent the oppressed people” at the podium should she win a medal in Tokyo, adding, “that’s been my message for the last three years”.
Berry first came under the firing line of her critics two years ago when she raised her fist in protest protested after she medaled at the Pan American Games.