Earlier this month U.S. Olympic fencing medalist Race Imboden took a knee on the podium to draw attention to social issues after earning team foil gold at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Imboden’s gesture preceded a similar protest on Saturday by American hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who raised her fist at the end of the national anthem after winning gold.
People called for them to be punished and they are, but the punishment is not enough for sure.
The CEO of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee sent letters of reprimand to hammer thrower Gwen Berry and fencer Race Imboden for protesting on the medals stand last week at the Pan American Games, but the 12-month probations that came with the letters also included a none-too-subtle signal for anyone vying for next year’s Olympics.
“It is also important for me to point out that, going forward, issuing a reprimand to other athletes in a similar instance is insufficient,” Sarah Hirshland wrote in the letters sent Tuesday. The Associated Press obtained copies of the documents.
This comes as a surprise because earlier this month there were some reports that they will be punished even more.
Both protests contravened an agreement all athletes on the US team signed that states they will not “make remarks or release propaganda of political, religious or racial nature, or any other kind” during the Games.
“Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature,” USOPC spokesman Mark Jones to Reuters in a statement earlier this month.
“In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC. We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honor his commitment.
“Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result.”
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