July 22, 2024
American Simone Biles is seen during warm-ups prior to the balance beam final on August 3.

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American Gwen Berry competes in the hammer throw final on August 3.
American Gwen Berry competes in the hammer throw final on August 3. Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

US hammer thrower Gwen Berry says she is “ready to change some stuff for real” after raising her fist before the women’s hammer throw final at Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday.

As she was introduced into the stadium, Berry raised a clenched fist, later explaining she was protesting social and racial injustice.

“I’m just here to represent, man,” she told reporters on Tuesday. “I know a lot of people like me, a lot of athletes like me, a lot of people are scared to succeed or speak out. As long as I can represent those people, I’m fine.”

Berry has been outspoken on social issues in the past and has a history of protesting at major track and field events.

After qualifying for her second Games in June, the 32-year-old turned away from the flag while the national anthem played during the medal ceremony and draped a T-shirt reading the words “activist athlete” over her head.

Berry later said she was “set up” on the podium having been told that the anthem would be played before the athletes stepped on.

In 2019, she also lost some of her sponsorships after raising her fist in protest on the podium at the Pan American Games in Peru.

She received a 12-month probation from the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee for the act, which she says was meant to highlight social injustice in America.

IOC rules: The International Olympic Committee’s Rule 50 ban prohibits athletes from protesting at Olympic sites.

Following a 10-month review of the rule that concluded in April, the body decided to uphold it, but in July added an amendment allowing athletes to express their views in mixed zones, press conferences and during interviews, as well as prior to the start of competition.

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'I'm just here to represent,' says US athlete Gwen Berry after raising her fist at Tokyo 2020