Gwen Berry, a black hammer thrower from the United States, is calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to change the Olympic Charter and repeal a rule that prohibits athletes from protesting on political, religious, or racial issues at Olympic competitions.
The video message of the American woman was published on Monday on the website of the New York Times newspaper. The athlete notes that several black athletes at the Olympic games of different years allowed themselves to protest and were not disqualified. Also, she points out that in most leagues and world Championships, actions in the form of kneeling and BLM (Black Lives Matter) inscriptions are allowed, and only at the Olympic Games, any protest is prohibited. The ban is enshrined in article 50 of the Olympic Charter.
“I am one of the best javelin throwers of all time and I am proud to be a member of the US Olympic team. Thomas Bach (head of the IOC), I know that you want to preserve the Olympic games as a place where harmony reigns, and the focus is exclusively on sports. You require athletes to push the boundaries of what is possible and strive for excellence. It’s time for you to do the same. You should get rid of article 50 and suggest something different,” Berry said.
At the 2019 pan American games, Berry won gold and raised a clenched fist on the podium to protest social inequality. Later, the US Olympic Committee issued a warning to the athlete, berry lost several sponsorship contracts, and the IOC reprimanded the American and appointed a trial period of 12 months.
“If you protest, you get punished. That’s what happened to me, ” Berry said.
Winning the 2019 pan American games in Peru is the best result of the 31-year-old’s career.