USOPC’s Hirshland Apologizes to Olympian Gwen Berry for Post-Protest Fallout

Torrey Hart
by Torrey Hart 9

June 04th, 2020 News

United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland apologized to Olympic thrower Gwen Berry – who is currently serving a 12-month probation for raising her fist on the podium at 2019 Pan Ams – on a call Wednesday after a letter issued to Team USA athletes this week said that the USOPC “stands with those who demand equality and [wants] to work in pursuit of that goal.”

Berry and Olympic fencer Race Imboden were reprimanded in a letter from Hirshland and put on probation last August after their demonstrations. Berry told NBC Sports that she lost two-thirds of her income and was dropped by some sponsors in the wake of the event.

So when the USOPC sent a letter to athletes this week, in the wake of the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd and ensuing national protests, Berry demanded an apology on Twitter.

Hirshland, Berry, USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel and other USATF officials spoke on a 40-minute call Wednesday, according to NBC. Berry said that Hirshland apologized “for not understanding the severity of the impact her decisions had on [her].”

“I am grateful to Gwen for her time and her honesty last night,” Hirshland said in a statement. “I heard her. I apologized for how my decisions made her feel and also did my best to explain why I made them. Gwen has a powerful voice in this national conversation, and I am sure that together we can use the platform of Olympic and Paralympic sport to address and fight against systematic inequality and racism in our country.”

“We came to some good conclusions,” Berry said. “The most important thing were figuring out ways to move forward. [Hirshland] was aware of things that she did and how she made me feel about the situation, and I was happy that I was able to express to her my grievances and she was able to express to me how she felt as well about the situation.”

Berry added that her probation was not discussed, but that USATF “has always been on her side,” NBC reported.

“The conversation was more for awareness purposes, and we’ll probably have more conversations this week,” Berry said.

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” …Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired.”

“But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that [referees]? When people like yourselves turn on the television and you see those players taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.”

-President Trump, 09.22.17 Huntsville, Alabama


His head will explode any day now

Hank Monroe

He seemed happy today discussing the jobs numbers.


I seem to remember quiet a few people divided over taking a knee during the anthem and the attendance and ratings taking a hit as a result. It was well reported at the time and to deny the fact that it wasn’t a popular decision at the time would to be deny the truth.


Do what’s right, not what’s “popular.”

Irish Ringer

What’s right could be multiple things. Standing is the tradition and been done so for years to show appreciation for the country and people as a whole. There’s nothing wrong with standing just like an argument can be made there’s nothing wrong with taking a knee. Taking a knee would be done to indicate support for something outside the norm.


“I’m sorry my crappy decision looks even crappier in light of more injustices”

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name

“I apologized for how my decisions made her feel and also did my best to explain why I made them.”

Classic “I’m sorry you feel bad” bs right here. This is not an apology, this is rationalizing actions in a way to make yourself to feel better.

Hank Monroe

Protesting or making statements on the podium while representing a country is a slippery slope.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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