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American gold medalist kneels during national anthem

Race Imboden on Twitter said he chose to "(sacrifice) my moment" to call attention to important issues.
Credit: AP Photo/Vincent Thian
From left to right, Bronze medalists United States with Miles Chamley-Watson, Race Imboden, Alexander Massialas, and Gerek Meinhardt shows their medal during the medal ceremony poses for photograph during the medal ceremony for the men's team foil competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016.

LIMA, Peru — American gold medalist fencer Race Imboden took a knee during the national anthem in protest of several important issues, including President Donald Trump.

"We must call for change," he tweeted after the anthem played. "This week I am honored 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. 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," Imboden said.

Imboden, 26, helped the US win gold in the men's foil team event, CNN reports. His teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin continued standing, while athletes from Brazil and Canada made up remaining winning group.

CNN said Imboden wasn't the only American to protest during the anthem as gold medalist Gwen Berry, who won in the hammer throw competition, raised her fist in the air.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick helped start a wave of social and racial injustice protests in 2016 by kneeling during at games during the national anthem. He recently said he's "still ready" to make a return.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said Imboden might face consequences.

"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, USOPC said in a statement on Saturday.

"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 Associated Press contributed to this report.

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