WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Race Imboden was part of the U.S. men’s fencing team who won the gold on Friday’s Pan American Games in Peru.
- As a form of social justice protest, Imboden took a knee on the medal podium as the national anthem played.
- After the event, Imboden called for change and listed the issues that ‘need to be addressed’: ‘racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate.’
The victory of the U.S. men’s fencing team on Friday’s Pan American Games in Peru earned gold medals for fencers Race Imboden, Nick Itkin, and Gerek Meinhardt.
As the team stood on the medal podium wearing their gold medals, Imboden took a knee during the national anthem as a form of American social justice protest.
Imboden explained his actions on Twitter after the event. He encouraged others to “call for change” and battle the “multiple shortcomings of the country.” He then listed the issues that “need to be addressed”: “racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants, and a president who spreads hate.”
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’s protest might earn him some repercussions from the U.S. Olympic Committee, however.
According to NBC Sports, athletes make a commitment to refrain from political demonstrations during the Pan Am Games.
USOPC spokesperson Mark Jones told NBC, “In this case, Race didn’t adhere to the commitment he made to the organizing committee and the USOPC. We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honor his commitment.”
Imboden previously staged a similar protest back in 2017. It was at a World Cup event in Egypt, according to NBC.
Imboden was born in Tampa, Florida, and resides in Brooklyn, New York. He is a long-time member of the U.S. fencing team.
Between team and individual events at the Pan American Games, he has earned a total of 12 gold medals, one silver medal, and two bronze medals. He scored a team bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics and was part of the first U.S. foil team to win a world championship this July.
According to USA Today, the 26-year-old champion also works as a professional model for Marc Jacobs, J. Crew, and Rag & Bone.
The International Fencing Federation currently ranks Imboden as second in the world in men’s fencing. Imboden’s ranking ensures him a spot at the Olympic team for Tokyo 2020, where he hopes to take a gold medal home.