Olympic Fencer Takes a Knee

"It was a moment for me to speak up." Here's why Olympic fencer Race Imboden kneeled during the national anthem at the Pan Am Games. 🤺

Making America the best place it can be for everyone

Olympic fencing champion Race Imboden took a knee to call for social change during the men’s foil team gold medal at the Pan-American Games. Imboden says he took a knee for racism, gun violence prevention, mistreatment of immigrants, and the rhetoric of President Trump. This was not the first time Imboden knelt during the anthem. Imboden reportedly also kneeled during the national anthem back in 2017, at a World Cup event in Egypt.

The U.S. Olympic Committee (USOPC) may take action against him for this most recent act of protest: A spokesperson for the national organization explained to NBC Sports that players agree before the Pan American Games to refrain from political statements and demonstrations. During his career with the U.S. national fencing team, Imboden has won 12 gold medals, one silver and two bronze in a combination of individual and team events. He is currently ranked by the International Fencing Federation as second in the world for men's foil.

“I understand people's disgust and I understand people's dislike of the act. But I do know that I didn't do it out of any distaste for the actual flag, or for our country, or anthem. I love our country. I love what it represents and I'm about making America the best place it can be for everyone including everyone in on all the things that make us great,” explains Race Imboden.

Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick popularized kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, calling out the oppression of minorities in the U.S. After his demonstration, the quarterback went unsigned during the 2017 pre-season, leading Kaepernick and his supporters to accuse the league of blacklisting him due to his political views. Also, at the Pan American Games, hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised her fist during the Star-Spangled Banner after winning the gold. He hopes to inspire other young athletes to use their voice.


08/18/2019 11:57 AMupdated: 08/21/2019 2:29 PM
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  • Edward M.
    08/18/2019 12:06

    Go to China

  • Marisol S.
    08/18/2019 12:11

    Bravo for saying the true.

  • Natalie K.
    08/18/2019 12:11

    Awesome! thank you for being the person that God wants you to be!

  • Jp D.
    08/18/2019 12:15

    Good For You Sir!!!

  • Alex C.
    08/18/2019 12:21

    The people who died on the beaches did not die for a flag or an anthem. It was for something worth losing your life for.

  • Eugene M.
    08/18/2019 12:24

    Very sad that he did this.

  • Sonny W.
    08/18/2019 12:28


  • Lorraine K.
    08/18/2019 12:34

    Well said young man. Thank you, you give us hope.

  • Josh M.
    08/18/2019 12:35

    So brave

  • Jimmy J.
    08/18/2019 12:45

    Exemplary athlete, citizen and human🍺

  • Lynne E.
    08/18/2019 13:01

    Thank you! You give us hope.

  • Nita K.
    08/18/2019 13:14

    What a LOSER. Martin Luther King would be so repulsed. All this dude can do is kneel? Go home young man and find a better way to make a difference. What a JOKE!!!

  • Stan C.
    08/18/2019 13:19

    I wish folks understood kneeling does not show disregard for the flag or country, but is a condemnation of something else

  • Cory W.
    08/18/2019 13:32


  • Betty C.
    08/18/2019 13:34

    you can make a difference in other ways, like spending time in your community doing charitable things, giving money to local charities, getting involved, one step at a time

  • Judy M.
    08/18/2019 13:49

    He's a disgrace and embarrassment to our country. If he wants to criticize the same country he's representing, he shouldn't be in that position. Traitor!!

  • Joe S.
    08/18/2019 13:51


  • Brian W.
    08/18/2019 13:52

    What a disgrace

  • Angel C.
    08/18/2019 14:20

    Great job a true human being placing human beings first before any piece of cloth, religion, or belief only this way we are gonna make it in this world all those sheeps criticizing him are welcomed to keep being sheeps just remembers sheeps get slaughtered

  • Kokai H.
    08/18/2019 14:20

    Good for you to peacefully protest the idiotic racist policies that moron in charge keeps trying to push! Good for you sir!!