Gwen Berry a former Olympian and 2019 Pan American Games champion spoke about her political activism against racial injustice, in Houston, on Saturday. The gold medalist was given a 12 month suspension after raising her fist against racism at the 2019 Pan American Games.
«In 2019 the USOPC [United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee] reprehended me for taking a stance on the podium in 2019 at the Pan American Games. During that time I felt like it was right for me to sacrifice my medal and my platform to speak out about racial injustice and systematic oppression,» she said, calling the USOPC «hypocritical» for releasing a statement against racism while prohibiting its athletes from taking political stances.
Berry was suspended for breaking the International Olympic Committee's rule 50, which states, «No kind of demonstration, political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.»
«The USOPC has commissioned an athlete's committee with team USA track and field athletes to file against the IOC [International Olympic Committee] and the rule 50,» Berry said, speaking in front of a mural depicting George Floyd, who was recently killed during a police encounter in Minneapolis, sparking a worldwide wave of protests.
The athlete hopes the USOPC and US athlete's committee revoke this rule against peaceful protests as she continues to train for the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics.