Berry, who made headlines after she turned her back on the American flag at the Olympic trials, says she is ready to stage a similar protest if she wins a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Berry made it through qualifying rounds for the hammer throw over the weekend in the event’s Group B preliminaries, earning her the ability to compete in the women’s medal round on Tuesday.
Although Berry is not expected to make it to the medal podium — she would have to defeat not only her American teammate, Brooke Anderson, but world-leading hammer throwers from China and Poland — she said, in a post-qualifier interview Saturday, that she intends to make a political statement if she does.
Berry first protested the American national anthem in international competition when she won a medal at the Pan American Games two years ago. Then, she also turned her back on the flag during her medal ceremony, earning her a fine from the Games themselves, which prohibit political demonstrations.
Berry made headlines more recently, though, after turning her back on the national anthem during the US Olympic Trials after taking the bronze medal. Berry, draped in an “activist athlete” tee-shirt, looked directly at the press during the protest, rather than turn toward the stars and stripes alongside her fellow athletes.
“I feel like I’ve earned the right to wear this uniform,” Berry said in her most recent comment on the issue while responding to criticism about her first stunt. “I’ll represent the oppressed people. That’s been my message for the last three years.”
Instead of taking responsibility for her stunt at the Olympic Trials, Berry started peddling a conspiracy theory where she claims she was “set-up” with the National Anthem.
“I feel like it was setup,” Berry said as she started cackling. “I feel like they did that on purpose, and I was pissed, to be honest. I was thinking about what should I do. Eventually, I just stayed there and just swayed. I put my shirt over my head. It was real disrespectful. I know they did that on purpose, but it’ll be all right. I see what’s up.”
“The national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today,” USA Track and Field spokesman Susan Hazzard said. “We didn’t wait until the athletes were on the podium for the hammer throw awards. The national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule.”