The Games carry national proud to the nations they represent, yet for some athletes, it’s just a chance to compete


For spectators, the Olympics have long been a source of nationwide pride. However do the rivals actually care around the nations they represent?

An Olympic hammer thrower inadvertently lugged that concern to the fore critical month once she turn her earlier on the U.S. Flag ~ qualifying for the team. Gwen Berry, that is a two-time Olympian, said the flag and anthem don’t stand for her since of racial and social injustices in America.

Berry faced backlash however didn’t lose her clues on the U.S. Team. After the qualifying event, fellow hammer thrower DeAnna Price said, “I think people should say every little thing they desire to say. Ns proud that her,” follow to The connected Press.

You are watching: American athletes competing for other countries

Others, including numerous Republican leaders, feeling Berry’s plot should have actually been disqualifying. At minimum, “you should believe in the country you’re representing,” claimed Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw.

The editorial board of the Washington Examiner advised Berry and other aggrieved athletes to “find another country that doesn’t offend them together much.”

Under particular circumstances, Olympic rules really do enable athletes to move to a different country’s team. Have to the plans be adjusted to encourage much more patriotism in ~ the Games?


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have to supporting her flag it is in a necessity for Olympians?

Transfer of allegiance

The international Olympic Committee requires that athletes be citizens or nationals that the country they contend for. According to the Villanova Sports regulation Blog, dominance 41 allows athletes with multiple citizenships to choose which country they want to represent. The legislation requires athletes come wait at least three years before transforming to a various country, but there’s a loophole: The athlete deserve to be released from his or her selection if both countries agree.

More than 200 nations will get involved in the Tokyo Games, and also each one has various laws that govern citizenship and also nationals. But no issue where one Olympic-caliber athlete is applying, lock may find it much easier than the average human to acquire approved.

As such, both American athletes and also those indigenous other countries have used national status to join the Olympic teams of countries where they nothing live and also then have actually competed against their own countries in the Games.

Five year ago, in ~ the start of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Matt Vasilogambros check what has been dubbed the “transfer that allegiance” that goes on through some Olympic athletes. Composing for The Atlantic, he listed that pole vaulter Giovanni Lanaro to be “born, raised, educated, and trained in southern California,” however competed for Mexico in the 2008 Olympics.

Lanaro was able to carry out that since his mom was born in Mexico and also the country only needs Mexican heritage to it is in on the teams. Lanaro said The Los Angeles Times, “I will always compete for Mexico. I will certainly never compete for any type of other country.”

In his article, Vasilogambros detailed that international Policy magazine had actually explored the darker ramifications of rules that allow the transforming of allegiance for sport, consisting of charges the Qatar basically was purchase athletes by supplying them citizenship and also money. He composed that athletes who competed for the U.S. After gaining EB-1 visas, i beg your pardon are provided to human being with “extraordinary” abilities, had actually won eight Olympic medals for the U.S. In between 1992 and 2004.

Further complicating matters is the fact that, in part sports, athletes can now qualify as individuals, fairly than as component of your country’s official medal team.

For example, in women’s gymnastics this year, four U.S. Gymnasts, consisting of the college of Utah’s elegant McCallum, will complete as a team, while two others (including Utah’s MyKayla Skinner) will complete for individual medals as part of the U.S. Delegation.

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Gwendolyn Berry, left, drapes she Activist Athlete T-Shirt over she head as DeAnna Price stands for the nationwide anthem after ~ the finals that the women’s hammer litter at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials ~ above Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Eugene, Ore. Price won and Berry perfect third. Charlie Riedel. Connected Press

‘From whatever nation he may come’

Some have argued that rules allowing athletes to switch nations or contend as people honors the original intent of the Games, which was for athletes to compete with athletes from everywhere the world, no on behalf of their countries.

Writing for The new York times in 2012, Yale regulation professor Ian Ayres said countries should have the ability to grant dual citizenship because that the sake of strong competition, and that “countries should be cost-free to compete for the solutions of the world’s ideal athletes.”

Ayes recognized that this adjust “would often tend to reduce the prestige of medal counts and country pride” however would do the games more consistent v the Olympic charter’s vision.

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Similarly, in 1968, Prince George william of Hanover, the brother-in-law the Queen Elizabeth II, argued before the global Olympic Committee that there must be no anthems or flags the individual nations at the Games. Instead, “the Olympic hymn must be played and the Olympic flag flown for every Victor, indigenous whatever country he might come,” that said.

Writing because that Slate about Prince George’s campaign, Ryan Murtha detailed the proposal almost passed: There were 34 votes in donate of the readjust and 22 against. The measure required a two-thirds majority, however, for this reason “God save the Queen” and also “The Star-Spangled Banner” proceed to play, and the civilization will be watching come see just how Gwen Berry reacts to the U.S. Anthem if she wins a yellow medal.

For most Americans, none of this will matter as Team USA files into Olympic stadion in Tokyo top top Friday morning, wearing marine blue jackets, blue jeans, scarves imprinted through a design like the U.S. Flag, and also belts and sneakers in red, white and blue.