US gold medal-winning fencer takes a knee during national anthem
An American fencer who won a gold medal for the US has provoked controversy by taking a knee during the national anthem.
The incident in question occurred during the medal-awarding ceremony at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, The 26-year-old fencer Race Imboden, who tied for the bronze medal in the individual men's foil event with Canadian Maximilien van Haaster, knelt during a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner.
Imboden claims that the act was intended as a protest against President Donald Trump, as well as a call for tighter gun control in the wake of two serious mass shooting incidents in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. His teammates, Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin, chose to stand.
Check out this video of Imboden's protest below:
Taking to Twitter to share an image of his protest, the athlete stated: "We must call for change. This week I am honoured 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. [sic]"
He added that these were: "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."
Meanwhile, hammer-throwing athlete Gwen Berry raised her fist in an act of protest during the national anthem. Discussing her motivations in an interview with USA Today, Berry stated: "Somebody has to talk about the things that are too uncomfortable to talk about. Somebody has to stand for all of the injustices that are going on in America and a president who's making it worse."
This isn't the first time that Imboden has knelt during the national anthem. Back in 2017 he and fellow fencer Miles Chamley-Watson did the same thing during the 2017 World Cup held in Egypt.