The People’s War Radio Show, Episode #65: Black women athletes spark controversy at U.S. Olympic Trials

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The United States Track and Field Olympic Trials were held from June 18 to June 27 in Eugene, Oregon. The US trials are the first step for US athletes to compete in the Summer Olympic Games. This year’s Olympic games are shaping up to be historic on many levels.

African women athletes have taken center stage in these trials, creating a buzz and sparking controversy in both colonial and social media. At the Olympic Trials, sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson and hammer thrower Gwen Berry have made significant political statements in their performances and protests.

Slanderous comments about Richardson’s sexuality and gender have been made. Many critics have disapproved of the record-setting sprinter’s hair, tattoos, and body piercings. Berry, who has been an outspoken critic of anti-African violence, publicly protested the US National Anthem at the Olympic trials. We talk about this today and more.

We place the Summer Olympic Games into the context of colonial capitalism and speak with three track and field athletes about the significance of the sport to the African community. In this episode we discuss:

  • Gwen Berry's heroic stance
  • Sha'Carri Richardson's impact on track and field
  • Covid-19's effect on track and field athletes
  • The struggles of African people, particularly African women, in Track and Field
  • The greater impact athletes can have on society

All of our guests challenge athletes, amateur and professional, to put their community first and make a difference outside of the arena.

Our first guest is Kundai Bajikikayi. Kundai is the membership coordinator for the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project. She is also a former track and field coach and standout collegiate runner.

Our second guest is James Boomer Harris. Boomer was an all-american athlete for Florida State University and now competes professionally. Boomer has competed for the US team in the past.

Our final guest is Coach Charles "Chuck" Ryan. Coach Ryan works at the University of California Berkeley and was an all-american runner at the University of South Carolina.

The People's War radio show is produced by WBPU 96.3 FM "Black Power 96" in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is hosted by Dr. Matsemela Odom and Muambi Tangu, bringing an African Internationalist perspective to the important issues of our world.

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