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Joe Biden 'Respects' Athlete Who Turned Away From American Flag At Olympic Trials

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Joe Biden 'Respects' Athlete Who Turned Away From American Flag At Olympic Trials

By Stewart Perrie

The athlete who turned away from the American flag at Olympic Games trials has been forced to defend herself.

Gwen Berry earned a spot on Team USA after placing third in the hammer throw, however when it came time to jump on the podium, she didn't follow suit with her competitors.

The women who placed first and second turned to the left towards the flag and put their hand on their heart as the American national anthem began to play.

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Berry instead stood exactly where she was and, as the anthem was wrapping up, she chucked on a black t-shirt that said 'Activist Athlete'.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

She's since come under intense scrutiny, with Republican politicians like congressman Dan Crenshaw calling for her to be kicked off the team. Mr Crenshaw believes the US should only send athletes to Tokyo if they're willing to pay tribute to the flag.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Berry was angry organisers played the anthem while she was on the podium.

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She said: "I was p*ssed, to be honest. They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there. But I don't really want to talk about the anthem because that's not important. The anthem doesn't speak for me. It never has."

Berry has since responded to American track and field athlete William Claye on Twitter after he accused her of hating America.

The hammer thrower said: "I never said I hated this country! People try to put words in my mouth but they can't. That's why I speak out. I LOVE MY PEOPLE."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about what President Joe Biden thinks of the stunt and she said she hadn't spoken to him at the time. But she did follow it up with a word of support for Berry.

Ms Psaki said the President is 'incredibly proud to be an American and has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents, especially for our men and women serving in uniform all around the world'.

But he also believes 'part of that pride in our country means recognising there are moments where we are - as a country, haven't lived up to our highest ideals, and it means respecting the right of people, granted to them in the Constitution, to peacefully protest'.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: olympics, Australia

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