United States gold medal winning fencer Race Imboden could face sanctions after kneeling during the medal ceremony of the Pan-Am Games, according to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
Imboden dropped down to one knee during the award ceremony on Friday at a political protest as the US flag was raised.
The 2016 Olympic team event bronze medallist and Tampa native took to Twitter explain the reasons for his actions.
and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list.
I chose to sacrifie my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change.
— Race Imboden (@Race_Imboden) August 10, 2019
We must call for change. This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan-Am Games, taking home gold and bronze.
My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list.
I chose to sacrifice my moment today at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that I believe need to be addressed. I encourage others to please use your platforms for empowerment and change.
US athletes all over the states have been taking a knee in a bid to protest against injustices in the states.
It first began in 2016, when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled to protest police shootings of unarmed black men.
Imboden’s stance was similar to that of American hammer thrower Gwen Berry, who raised her fist at the end of the national anthem after winning gold.
As per the The Guardian, she told USA Today:
I love representing my country. America is a great country. It’s the best country in the world.
However, what we are standing for right now, it is complete and utter – it’s extreme injustice.
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) August 11, 2019
Both Imboden and Berry’s protests have gone against the agreement all athletes on the US teams signed, which states they will not ‘make remarks or release propaganda of political, religious or racial nature, or any other kind’ during the games.
USOPC spokesman Mark Jones told Reuters in a statement:
Every athlete competing at the 2019 Pan American Games commits to terms of eligibility, including to refrain from demonstrations that are political in nature.
In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organising 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.
The USOPC issued an identical statement in response to Berry’s protest on Saturday.
It’s not yet known what discipline Imboden will face, but it could impact his chances of competing at next year’s Olympics.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.