Is Gwen Berry relieved? She lost in the hammer throw; no medal for her, but at least she wasn't subjected to the savagery of hearing the Star Spangled Banner and seeing Old Glory from the podium. Or is she disappointed she she didn't get to call attention to her contempt for America with some protest gesture?
Berry isn't what you'd call a patriot. Back in June when she placed third at the Olympic qualifier, Berry couldn’t manage to get through the podium ceremony without petulance. According to USA Today, “As the national anthem played, she turned away from the American flag, toward the southern seats at Hayward Field. Then she draped a T-shirt that read ‘Activist Athlete’ over her head.”
She later explained that she didn’t expect them to play the anthem and “‘I feel like it was a setup. I feel like they did that on purpose,’ Berry said. “‘And I was pissed, to be honest.’” Yes, they played the national anthem in an effort to screw with her personally.
Berry is black and an "activist athlete" who USA TODAY said tries to “draw attention to racial inequality and police brutality in America." And based on an erroneous and ahistorical reading of the "Star Spangled Banner's" third stanza, she refuses to respect the song. “The anthem don’t speak for me,” she said. “It never has.”
But she agreed to compete for the U.S. in the Olympics anyway. Lucky us.
Now her Olympics are over and with them, the threat of having to hear the anthem anytime soon. Congrats, Gwen!