The Olympics in Tokyo this year is set to be the most political yet, and the games haven’t even started.
Athletes who otherwise would receive little to no attention are making various political statements, gaining them praise in the media and adoration from more famous athletes. Take the example of a hammer thrower, who turned her back and noticeably pouted and fidgeted because the national anthem was played while she was receiving her bronze medal. She’s going to the Olympics to represent the United States, but our flag and anthem offend her.
Gwen Berry, who came in third place in last Saturday’s Olympic trials, turned away from the American flag as the anthem played and eventually covered her head with her black t-shirt, which read “Activist Athlete” on it. She did all this while the two athletes who outperformed her, the first- and second-place winners, faced the flag and held their hands over their hearts.
The national anthem was scheduled to play at a set time each evening during the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. It was supposed to play at 5:20 p.m. Saturday night, but was five minutes late. Berry said the later playing, which happened while she was on the podium, felt “like a setup, and they did it on purpose.”
“I was pissed, to be honest,” she added.
DeAnna Price, who took first place in the event, broke the American record and meet records for her throw, which was just under seven feet longer than Berry’s throw. Instead of Price getting the attention for her achievements, all eyes were focused on third-place finisher Berry. Articles about Berry snubbing the American flag and anthem include quotes from Price praising Berry’s activism.
“I think people should say whatever they want to say. I’m proud of her,” Price said.
Berry has learned that she doesn’t need to achieve anything in Tokyo to become famous.
“I don’t need to do anything sport-wise,” she said. “What I need to do is speak for my community, to represent my community and to help my community. Because that’s more important than sports.”
Berry is not alone in getting media attention not for her athletic ability, but for her activism. Chelsea Wolfe, who is transgender, qualified as an alternate for Team USA’s BMX freestyle event. Wolfe expressed the hope to “win the Olympics so I can burn a US flag on the podium.” Wolfe made the comments last year, before the games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wolfe told Fox News after the since-deleted post was discovered that it doesn’t mean they don’t “care about the United States.”
“One of the reasons why I work so hard to represent the United States in international competition is to show the world that this country has morals and values, that it’s not all of the bad things that we’re known for,” Wolfe told the outlet. “I take a stand against fascism because I care about this country and I’m not going to let it fall into the hands of fascists after so many people have fought and sacrificed to prevent fascism from taking hold abroad.”
And of course, we can’t forget the politics surrounding transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who until transitioning in 2013 competed professionally as a man. Hubbard became eligible to compete in the Olympics in 2015 when the International Olympic Committee changed its rules to allow biological males to compete against women so long as their testosterone measured below 10 nanomoles per liter for at least a year prior to competing. As a note, biological women have a much lower natural testosterone level, typically between 1.12 to 1.79 nmol/L, according to Science Daily (other studies vary on the range, but all but a few women with certain genetic conditions have natural hormone levels well below the levels allowed for transgender athletes).
Hubbard is expected to dominate the female weightlifting event, having competed for decades as a man – and will take media attention away from female athletes.
This year’s Olympics are already about politics and not athleticism. It will only get worse from here.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.