Gwen Berry has made waves in the Olympics, not only for her award-winning performance on the field but also for her public political statements. Find out more about this outstanding American athlete, her political opinions, and details of the scandal at the Olympics 2021.
This fierce woman is on a mission to prove not only her strength but her vivacious personality as well. At a mere 32 years of age, she has accomplished what many can only dream of. In this article, we discover more about her exciting life and athletic career.
Gwen Berry's Profile
- Full Name: Gwendolyn Denise Berry
- Gender: Female
- Date of Birth: 29 June 1989
- Gwen Berry's age: 32 in 2021
- Zodiac: Taurus
- Place of birth: St Louis, Missouri
- Current residence: Houston, Texas
- Nationality: American
- Ethnicity: Black
- Sexuality: unconfirmed
- Eye colour: brown
- Hair colour: brown
- Siblings: Davon, Michale and Quincy.
- Gwen Berry's husband: unmarried
- Dependant: Derrick (17)
- School: Mc'Cluer High School '07
- College: Southern Illinois University '11
- Occupation: Professional athlete
- Sport: Track and field
- Event: Hammer throw
- Team: New York Athletic Club; Nike
- Sponsor: Puma
- Gwen Berry's net worth: $1-1.5 million
- Facebook: @Gwen Berry
- Gwen Berry's Instagram: @MzBerryThrows_
- Gwen Berry's Twitter: @GwenBerryOLY
- Website: athletebiz.us/gwedolyn-berry
What country is Gwen Berry from?
Berry is an American citizen and was born (29 June 1989) and raised in St Louis, Missouri. She began her athletic career on the basketball court at McCluer High and moved onto the track field as a Triple Jumper in college. Berry learnt the hammer throwing techniques quickly and was placed 4th for this event at the USA Junior Championships in 2008.
She won gold in the Pan American Sports Festival in 2014 whilst competing against her idol, Yipsi Moreno. She subsequently earned her spot in the USA team for the Rio Olympics 2016, and her goal is to become the first American female Hammer Thrower to win an Olympic gold medal.
In 2018, Gwen Berry's hammer throw was recorded as the 6th furthest throw of all time in the woman division, at 77.78m.
Who are Gwen Berry's parents?
At the head of this family of six sits Michael Berry and Laura Hayes. They are parents to two daughters, Gwen and Quincy, and two sons, Davon and Michale. Michael Berry fought for his country and was deployed to Iraq in 2004.
Did Gwen Berry graduate college?
She attended Southern Illinois University, where she graduated in 2011. Her chosen major was Psychology, with a Criminal Justice minor. Her introduction to hammer throwing was all thanks to her involvement with the SIU athletics team.
Is Gwen Berry trans?
She was born female in 1989. She gave birth to her son, Derrick, at the age of 15 and was fortunate enough to receive support from her family in raising the child. Berry states that she has had no surgery performed on her body, and she has always competed in the women's divisions.
Gwen Berry, the Activist Athlete
The athletes first public form of protest occurred in 2019 at the Pan American Games in Peru. Her statement was made when she took to the podium with a raised fist during the national anthem. Berry's raised fist symbolised her dissatisfaction with then-President Trump and the social injustices facing the US. She was consequently placed on probation for a year and lost 75% worth of funding from sponsorship deals when companies such as Nike pulled their names.
Berry's probation caused outrage within the Olympic community. The IOC prohibits any form of political demonstration or propaganda, whilst many athletes argued that it is their fundamental human right to have freedom of speech.
On 2 July 2021, the rules on sanctioning athletes from public political demonstrations have been altered, and BLM logos may now be visibly worn.
Gwen Berry's Olympic 2021 appearance caused a scandal as her gesture appeared to be anti-American. When Berry took to the podium with Deanne Price and Brooke Anderson, she was told that this was an introduction to the audience and would not involve the anthem. As customary, the anthem was only due to play at the beginning of the evening's session, at 5.20 pm, and not for each event.
However, once hammer thrower Gwen Berry was already on the podium, the anthem began playing. This inconsistency poses an issue because many athletes have chosen to refrain from standing on the podium during the anthem as a form of protest, and Berry was denied that right.
Turning her back to the flag, Gwen Berry enforced her protest by covering her head with a shirt that read: Activist Athlete. See below for Gwen Berry's video, anthem playing in the background and distress clearly shown on her face.
What did Gwen Berry say?
Berry states that she felt like the whole scenario was set up to cause controversy, and she was visibly upset by this, saying:
"I was p***ed, to be honest. They had enough opportunities to play the national anthem before we got up there."
Berry upset many people with her actions, mainly because they were viewed as disrespectful to the flag and anti-American. Insisting that her political statement was only motivated by racial injustice, Gwen Berry Tweets:
"These comments really show that: 1) People in American rally patriotism over basic morality. 2) Even after the murder of George Floyd and so many others; the commercials, statements, and phony sentiments regarding black lives were just a hoax."
Does Puma sponsor Gwen Berry?
Puma approached her with a sponsorship deal before the Olympic trials after Nike dropped her. This $15k sponsorship deal was arranged by the non-profit organisation, Colour of Change, who support Gwen as a political activist.
Puma chose to work with Berry for the same reason, stating that her activism aligns with the core values of the Puma brand and their contribution to black empowerment.
It is safe to say that we have not seen the last of proud activism at the Olympics 2021. Following the spread of this news, Gwen Berry's political statement has sparked both inspiration and anger. The inconsistency in IOC rules has been brought to light, and more athletes are taking a political stance in a call for equality.
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