It is genuinely heartbreaking to see people getting punished for seemingly innocent acts. That was exactly how everyone felt watching Gwen Berry in the Pan Am Games 2020.
Gwen Berry is an American hammer thrower, suspended by the Olympics Committee for protesting in the 2019 Pan Am Games.
From a kid in a small neighborhood in St Louis, Missouri, to the field of Olympic games, Gwen has had an iconic journey of her own. Now she is listed among the best hammer throwers in the world.
The fierce beauty has won gold in indoor championships three times! Alongside that, she has proudly represented her country in Olympic and Pan AM Games too.
In today’s article, we will learn about Gwen Berry’s journey to the Olympics and what caused her eventual suspension.
Before getting into the details, here are some quick facts about her:
Quick Facts: Gwen Berry
|Full Name||Gwendolyn Denise Berry|
|Common Name||Gwen Berry|
|Birth Date||29 June 1989|
|Birth Place||St. Louis Missouri, U.S|
|Father’s Name||Michael Berry|
|Mother’s Name||Laura Hayes|
|Siblings||Two Brothers, One sister|
|Age||33 years old|
|Height||1.78 m (5’10”)|
|Weight||194 lb (88 kg)|
|Children||One son, Derrick|
|High School||McCluer High School|
|College||Southern Illinois University Carbondale|
|Sport||Track and Field|
|Club||NYAC(New York Athletic Club)|
|Net Worth||$1-$5 million|
|Hobbies||Reading, Listening to music|
|Charity||St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Athletes for Hope|
|Social Media||Facebook, Instagram, Twitter|
|Last Update||July, 2022|
Early life and family of Gwen Berry
Gwen Berry, the diva, was born to Michael Berry and Laura Hayes on June 29, 1989. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States. She has a sister named Quincy as well as brothers named Davon and Michael.
Likewise, when Gwen was born, her father Michael was only 17 years old. At first, she lived with her mother, but her father decided that Gwen would benefit from living with a big family.
She consequently moved in with her father’s family. Her 13-member family was reared by her granny. They never had enough room, but it taught her the value of having a supportive family.
Track and Racism
Gwen witnessed racism as a child but was unable to understand why it was occurring. Her father educated himself on civil rights and black history.
He used to impart his knowledge to young Gwen even though she was unable to comprehend.
Moving on, Gwen has been active her entire life. Being around children all the time enhanced it even more.
Likewise, the youngsters were constantly playing and jumping outside. Baseball, soccer, volleyball, and other sports were once played.
During her school years, she began participating in team sports, and basketball games were when her athleticism really stood out. Gwen also occasionally competed in track and field events. She mostly performed triple jumps and sprints.
Having a baby and continuing your sport
Gwen became pregnant with Derrick when she was just 15 years old. Her life was significantly altered by this circumstance.
Additionally, Micheal was approved into the Army and sent to Iraq after just a few short weeks. For Gwen, this made things even more difficult.
Gwen, though, continued to play sports even after the birth of her son. During this period, her athletic career began to soar.
Berry also finished his secondary school education at McCluer High School in Florissant, Missouri. For three years, she broke high jump records.
She was awarded a scholarship from Southern Illinois as a result of her unrivaled talent. Later, in 2007, she enrolled in a university where she studied criminal justice and psychology.
Developing as an athlete
She had to leave her son behind because college was two hours distant by car. However, she had to finish her education as well as that of her son’s father. Derrick thus spent much of this time living with his paternal grandfather.
In actuality, she had never thrown a hammer before until she was in college. After seeing her performance, her college coach advised her to give it a shot.
She didn’t seem really interested at first, but she soon discovered how much fun she was having.
So she made the pivotal decision.
She had had placed in the top five at the USA Junior Championships by 2008. She now focused solely on throwing the hammer.
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Work Gwen Berry
Following graduating, Gwen started her professional career. She first concentrated on weight throw during the indoor season and hammer throw during the outdoor season.
Berry had the opportunity to compete in the US Olympic trials in 2012 because to her personal best hammer throw of 71.95 meters. She was then rated behind Jessica Cosby.
Despite her poor performance and seventh-place finish, she received an exclusive invitation to join the New York Athletic Club.
Gwen maintained her 2014 and 2016 titles after winning her maiden national title at the USA Indoors in 2013. She won the gold medal at the Pan Am Games in 2014 with a score of 72.04.
Furthermore, she defeated Yipsi Moreno, a three-time world champion who had influenced Gwen throughout her career.
In 2016, Gwen’s performance shone brightly. She used tosses over 24 meters to win four straight games. With a personal best of 75.11m, she topped the charts for that season.
She was, however, penalized from March to June for breaking anti-doping rules.
It was a prescription pharmaceutical inhaler, not a performance-enhancing drug, but sadly the drug was against the regulations.
Despite this, she now owns the weight throw world record with a distance of 25.6 meters, which she established in March 2017.
What actually transpired during the Pan American Games in 2019?
In Lima, Peru, the 2019 Pan American Games got underway in late July. The Pan American Games, in which many nations compete in a variety of sports, are a huge occasion for both participants and sports fans.
Well, Gwen, who had consistently been in the top three in the world for the last few years, excelled in her competitions. She ultimately took home a gold medal.
At the conclusion of the national anthem during her award ceremony, Berry suddenly felt something overpower her.
She had developed a fire inside of her as a result of years of experiencing and observing discriminatory conduct as a person of color.
Similar to how her father, who spent years studying black history, had prepared her to speak up whenever and whenever she could. Berry, poor Berry, was unable to stop wondering about the kind of environment her son will grow up in.
She therefore discreetly bent and raised her hand in protest at everything that was wrong with the world.
Race Imboden, a U.S. fencer, also took a knee at another medal ceremony to express his outrage over injustices toward immigrants and people of color.
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The Pan American Sports Organization is in charge of planning the Pan Am Games. The Olympic charter is adhered to by this group.
USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland sent a letter to both athletes right once following the incident. They both received some unpleasant news in the letter.
They were given a one-year probationary period. It also issued a warning that continued repetition of the same conduct might incur larger costs.
For an athlete, being placed on probation for a year might signify a lot. As soon as a decision was reached, both supportive and critical remarks began to surface.
Some praised her, while others criticized it.
While many of them criticized Gwen for what she did, several of them praised her for what she accomplished. Are you sure about that?
Berry has made it known in interviews with CBS Sports and elsewhere that she cannot tolerate bigotry toward people of race. She stated:
“But the anthem is not important, therefore I really don’t want to talk about it. I don’t speak for the anthem. Never has it.
On the other hand, Gwen gradually began to lose her important supporters. She claimed that the expense of the probation was almost $50,000. Following the incident, Gwen stated that despite acting impulsively, she does not regret what she did. After all, no one was harmed by her conduct!
Athletes can protest outside the podium, but a voice alone won’t have any effect if no one is there to hear it.
Of course we may demonstrate in front of the Olympic village, but will anyone care?
In 2020, team Toyota humanitarian awards presented her with an award for her bravery.
In addition to the prize money, Gwen received $10,000 to donate to charity of her choosing. All educational institutions that support minority students profit from this:
New Era Prep (South Florida), Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom School (New York), and Scholars Education Center (New Orleans).
The prospect of being allowed to speak up and raise her hand during the forthcoming Olympics without suffering repercussions is Gwen’s greatest wish.
The US Olympic Committee ruled in December 2020 that athletes would not face discipline for politely participating in demonstrations in support of racial and social justice for all people.
during the Olympic Trials, she turned her back on the flag
During the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, hammer thrower and social activist Gwen Berry turned her back to the American flag and faced the crowd.
Berry also placed a black t-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” on it on her hand toward the end of the song.
While her rivals Brooke Andersen, who took second place, and DeAnna Price, who took first place, faced the flag and placed their hands over their hearts.
Berry claims that the time of the national anthem was not an accident.
According to the AP, she stated, “I feel like it was a set-up, almost like they did it on purpose.” To be completely honest, she said, “I was furious.”
The USA Track and Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard, on the other hand, stated that “the national anthem was set to play at 5:20 p.m.” For the hammer throw prizes, we did not opt to hold off until the competitors were seated on the podium.
Berry, however, responded once more by complaining, “They said they would play the anthem before we walked out, but they played it when we were out there. However, I don’t want to talk about the national anthem because it isn’t significant.
once more, the repercussions
Additionally, in the midst of all of this, a previous image of Berry proudly flying the flag from her own website became viral.
The creator of security company ACT America, Brigitte Gabriel, concurred, writing: “This image comes directly from Gwen Berry’s website.” Her entire act as a “Activist Athlete” seems to be an act!
Nick Adams, the author, said, “Looks like the American flag didn’t offend Gwen Berry a few years ago.”
Although absolutely not all an act! Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.
Berry, on the other hand, took to Twitter to share her perspective.
“These statements clearly demonstrate that: 1.) Americans choose patriotism over fundamental morality. 2. The ads, statements, and fake sentiments about black life were merely a sham, even after the death of George Floyd and so many others.
Former NFL player Jack Brewer criticized the U.S. Olympic Committee on Fox News, saying that it “has to do something about this junk,” while Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw suggested that Berry be “removed from the squad.”
The United States’ hammer throw competitor in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 will be Gwen Berry. She is also delighted to be donning the USA-themed outfit, which is red, white, and blue.
Berry, who qualified for the Tokyo Games, says, “I feel like I’ve earned the right to wear this outfit.” She had the third-best distance of the day in Group B as of August 1, 2021.
In the shot put, Gong Lijiao of China triumphed against Raven Saunders of the United States to win gold. Saunders threw in her trademark style, with a “Incredible Hulk” mask and purple-green hair, and she now holds a silver medal.
A view on mental health from Berry
The rising issue of mental health has dominated the first ten days of the Tokyo Olympics 2021 as key athletes like Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles withdrew from the competition due to mental health issues.
Berry claimed that this is important to her as well because her agent died right before the June Olympic trials and her uncle passed away at the beginning of 2021.
Berry admitted that she thought about giving up sports in February. It was challenging. Overall, though, I have to be grateful that I am still alive, here, and unharmed.
Gwen Berry: Interactions
When Gwen was a senior in high school, she gave birth to a child. Her son’s father’s identity is kept a secret. Also unknown is whether or not they are still dating.
Gwen is secretive about her personal life. We should find out soon enough who her partner is.
Mia Hamm’s earnings and endorsements can be found at:
Social media, Gwen Berry
Gwen Berry spends the majority of her time on her public Instagram, where she has 12.9k followers.
She tweets frequently and participates in conversations even though she doesn’t have as many followers on her verified Twitter account.
Berry is well-known for her distinctive sense of fashion on social media, in addition to her feisty beliefs. Berry occasionally dons unique yet beautiful hairdos. She looks like a true diva thanks to that and her strong, vivid lipstick colors.
Instagram: 12.9k Followers
Twitter: 4980 Followers
You can also follow her on Facebook.
Gwen Berry: Net Worth
The American athlete Gwen Berry has a net worth of around $1-$5 million. Though track and field is not the sport where there is a lot of money, being the best in her sports opened great opportunities.
After the PAN AM incident, Gwen has lost a significant amount of her sponsorship which she has publicly criticized. The likes of Nike withdrew their money from her.
Gwen Berry: Frequently Asked Questions
Is Gwen Berry married?
No, Gwen is not married. It also appears that she does not have any partners right now.
Can Gwen Berry play in Tokyo Olympics?
Yes, Gwen’s probation period will be over till the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and she will be eligible to play.
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