A U.S. Olympic fencing medalist took a knee on the podium during the national anthem at the Pan American Games to protest “racism” and “a president who spreads hate.” Race Imboden, a member of the men’s foil team that had just clinched a gold medal, was shown in photos from the event in Lima, Peru kneeling and looking solemnly at the ground as his teammates stood for the anthem. “We must call for change,” he wrote in a post on Twitter explaining the move. “This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list,” he wrote.
The 26-year-old fencer, who competed in the Olympics in London in 2012 and won the team a bronze medal in Rio in 2016, could face repercussions from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. In a statement to the AP on Saturday, Mark Jones, vice president of communications for the USOPC, said the organization was “disappointed” that Imboden had broken a pledge to refrain from political demonstrations. “Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result,” Jones said.