At the Pan American Games in Peru, spectators were stunned at a rather unusual gesture made by US fencer Race Imboden. After sharing bronze in men’s foil with Canadian fencer Maximilien van Haaster, he kneeled as a sign of protest against the policy of gun control and political shortcomings arising due to the Trump administration.
You are a champion in every way. Greetings from Lima.
— Carlos Muñoz (@cmunozrodriguez) August 11, 2019
He said that while he deeply honored to represent his country at the event, his pride was cut short by the apparent shortcomings of his country. This is what he had to say –
“Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate are at the top of a long list,” he wrote in a series of tweets. “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
He further tweeted that a president who spreads hate and atrocious environments for immigrants is a disgrace to the country and that he decided to sacrifice his moment at the top of the podium to call attention to issues that require to be addressed. He urged his fellow community to use these platforms to drive empowerment and change.
@Race_Imboden Thank you for showing the courage to be a voice for others, and a symbol of condemnation for the racist, xenophobic hate we see from the current administration.
— Michele Justus-Hobbs (@MicheleJustusHo) August 11, 2019
This might also land him into major trouble since this act broke the terms of the tournament, thereby leaving the committee in a very dismal mood-
“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 for the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, said in a statement Saturday.
— Pearlina McGaw (@iampearlina) August 11, 2019
“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 athlete fraternity has come out in overwhelming support for the fencer. All around the world, players have expressed the need to talk about things that are too uncomfortable to talk about and fight against the injustices going on in America.
This is not the first time the United States has been called out for gun control. During an MLS match, Philadelphia player Alejandro Bedoya publicly called out the US Congress after scoring a goal. Prior to that, the country was rocked by two shootings, in El Paso, Texas and in Dayton, Ohio.