An old photo of Gwen Berry, the Olympian hammer thrower who was criticized for turning her back on the American flag during the national anthem, has surfaced on the internet.
The photo shows Berry beaming with pride holding up the American flag while she represented the U.S. at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Surprisingly, the picture came from Berry’s own website touting her many accomplishments.
It’s not clear exactly when the photo was taken but the blog post it’s attached to is dated June 12, 2015. The website itself was created to promote Berry before she made the 2016 U.S. Olympic team but after she came in first at the 2014 Pan American Sports Festival in Mexico City.
When the picture spread across the internet, critics pounced and began questioning what had changed for the Olympian over the last couple of years.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) June 30, 2021
Looks like the American flag didn't offend Gwen Berry a few years ago… pic.twitter.com/Wz2aamqDzf
— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) June 30, 2021
This image is directly from Gwen Berry's website.
It looks like her entire "Activist Athlete" bit is an act! pic.twitter.com/m2bGwhvYPN
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) June 30, 2021
Totally not all an act! She was definitely not protesting to get attention for herself and/or maybe some of those woke Nike sponsorship dollars. 100% legit and not at all a cottage industry victimization scheme we see so much of these days. https://t.co/OSjnPDCKTe
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) June 30, 2021
Oops! 🤣 https://t.co/yAApyOZvIX
— Katrina Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) June 30, 2021
Amid scrutiny and claims that she should not be representing America in the Games, Berry lashed out during an interview with the Black News Channel.
“I never said that I didn’t want to go to the Olympic Games, that’s why I competed and got third and made the team,” Berry said.
“I never said that I hated the country. I never said that. All I said was I respect my people enough to not stand for or acknowledge something that disrespects them. I love my people. Point blank, period.”
Berry claimed she specifically has an issue with a line in “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which she says alludes to catching and beating slaves.
Berry said: “If you know your history, you know the full song of the national anthem, the third paragraph speaks to slaves in America, our blood being slain…all over the floor. It’s disrespectful and it does not speak for Black Americans. It’s obvious. There’s no question.”
Apparently, this is not the first time Berry has protested during a Team USA event. Prior to snubbing the flag, she raised a fist in protest before one event. Berry also raised a fist while the national anthem played after winning gold in the 2019 Pan American Games.