American athlete Race Imboden kneeled during the medal ceremony at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, to protest social injustice. In a tweet posted after the ceremony, Imboden said, “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.”
Imboden added, “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.”
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
Imboden, who has competed in the Olympics in both 2012 and 2016, may face ramifications from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee for his protest.
“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 organizing committee and the USOPC,” Mark Jones, Vice President of Communications, USOPC said in a statement to the Associated Press on Saturday. “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.”
But “demonstrations that are political in nature” during sporting events have given us some of the most iconic images of our time, including Colin Kapernick’s kneeling in the NFL and the moment when when American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a Black Power salute during the American national anthem at the 1968 Olympic games medal ceremony.