US Olympic Officials Reprimand but Don't Punish Athletes Protesting at Pan-American Games

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic committee made the decision to reprimand, but not suspend U.S. athletes who protesting while on the medal stand during the Pan American Games earlier this month according to USA Today. USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland sent letters to fencer Race Imboden and hammer thrower Gwen Berry which said she "admired" the athletes for standing up for what they believe in, but they have to "abide by the policies we agree to in order to ensure the Games succeed in their purpose for many years to come."

Hirshland wrote Imboden and Berry are now in a probationary period which will last for 12 months. This means they could be punished if they "breach of our code of conduct."

When Imboden received his medals at the Pan American games, he took a knee just like former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick did back in 2016. Imboden went to Twitter to explain why he protested.

"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," he wrote. "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."

As for Berry, she raised her fist in the while she was on the medal stand after winning the gold medal in the hammer throw, which was "in violation of IOC Rule 50, which prohibits demonstrations during the Games," per FloTrack.org.

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"I know what I did and I know I broke the rules and I’ll make that sacrifice. I’m honored to make that sacrifice," Berry said. “I did it because I wanted to salute the people in America who’ve lost their lives, who’ve faced so many injustices over the last couple years. All the violence that is going on, it’s just crazy."

Hirshland also wrote she plans to work with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee to "more clearly define for Team USA athletes what a breach of these rules will mean in the future." This move comes before the Summer Olympic Games which will be held in Tokyo, Japan next year.