Gwen Berry, an Olympic hammer hopeful and activist, was angry that organizers played the national anthem when she was on the podium collecting a bronze medal in the U.S. Track & Field trials in Oregon. After a few uncomfortable moments, she turned from the flag in a sign of protest against racism. Organizers have only played the Star Spangled Banner once a day during the trials, and Berry said she felt they played it when she was on the podium on purpose.
“I feel like it was a setup, and they did it on purpose,'” Berry said. “I was pissed, to be honest.” Berry, who then took her t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Activist Athlete” and draped it over her head. “My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports,” Berry said. “I’m here to represent those ... who died due to systemic racism. That’s the important part. That’s why I'm going. That’s why I'm here today.”