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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

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

When she was ushered into the stadium, Berry raised her fist, later explaining that 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 afraid to succeed or to speak out. As long as I can represent these people, it’s fine.”

Berry has been outspoken about social issues in the past and has a habit of protesting at major athletic events.

After qualifying for her second Games in June, the 32-year-old turned away from the flag as the national anthem played at the medal ceremony and draped a T-shirt with the words “militant athlete” above her head.

Berry later said she was “settled” on the podium after being told the anthem would be played before the athletes stepped on it.

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 12 months probation from the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee for the act, which she said was meant to highlight social injustice in America.

IOC Rules: The International Olympic Committee’s Rule 50 ban prohibits athletes from demonstrating at Olympic venues.

After a 10-month review of the rule that ended in April, the body decided to maintain it, but in July added an amendment allowing athletes to express their views in mixed zones, conferences press releases and during interviews, as well as before departure. competition.

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