TOKYO – Two Missouri athletes will compete in the women’s Olympic Hammer Throw Qualifying Round on Saturday at Olympic Stadium.
Troy, Missouri native DeAnna Price won the Olympic Trials competition on June 26 with a throw of 263 feet, 6 inches (80.31 meters), which was nearly 7 feet longer than McCluer High School graduate Gwen Berry who came in third at the Olympic Trials. Price became only the second woman in history to crack 80 meters.
The event will start at 7:10 p.m. CT on Saturday.
This is Price’s second Olympic Games. She came in 8th place in the 2016 games held in Rio. She won the 2019 World Championships. Price also attended Southern Illinois University from 2011-2016 where she became only the fifth woman in NCAA history to win back-to-back hammer throw titles.
While attending Troy Buchanan High School, she threw shot put and discus.
This is also Berry’s second Olympics. She came in 14th place in Rio. In the 2019 World Championships, she came in 10th place. She is also one of 12 mothers representing the USA at the games.
Berry is a human rights activist and received the 2020 Toyota Humanitarian of the Year award at USATF’s Annual Meeting.
Price’s win at the Olympic Trials was overshadowed by Berry’s decision to turn away from the American flag during the playing of the national anthem after she earned the bronze medal. While the music played, Berry placed her left hand on her hip and shuffled her feet. She took a quarter turn, so she was facing the stands, not the flag. Toward the end, she plucked up her black T-shirt with the words “Activist Athlete” emblazoned on the front, and draped it over her head.
“I feel like it was a set-up, and they did it on purpose,” Berry said of the timing of the anthem. “I was pissed, to be honest.” She felt this way because, during the previous week of the Olympic Trials, the anthem was only played one time a night at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.
But the hammer throwers received their awards just before the start of the evening session, which has been kicking off all week with a video rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” played on the scoreboard.
USA Track and Field spokeswoman Susan Hazzard said, “the national anthem was scheduled to play at 5:20 p.m. today. We didn’t wait until the athletes were on the podium for the hammer throw awards. The national anthem is played every day according to a previously published schedule.” On June 26, the music started at 5:25 p.m.
“They said they were going to play it before we walked out, then they played it when we were out there,” Berry said. “But I don’t really want to talk about the anthem because that’s not important. The anthem doesn’t speak for me. It never has.”
Berry earned the bronze and punched her ticket to Tokyo by a margin of 2 inches over Janee Kassanavoid.
“My purpose and my mission is bigger than sports,” Berry said. “I’m here to represent those … who died due to systemic racism. That’s the important part. That’s why I’m going. That’s why I’m here today.”
Price had no problem sharing the stage with Berry.
“I think people should say whatever they want to say. I’m proud of her,” Price said.