Gwendolyn Berry, popularly known as Gwen Berry, is an American athlete who represented the USA in the hammer throw during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It wasn’t her first time in the Olympics as she already had competed in the 2016 Olympics. But, both times, Berry had to return home without any medals.
Besides being in the limelight for the Olympics, Berry also gathered enough headlines for standing against the racial brutality in the USA through silent protests on more than one international platform. Despite being peaceful, her protests did lead her to some serious consequences. However, she never stopped using her platform to stand for the African-American community.
|Popular Name||Gwen Berry|
|Real Name||Gwendolyn Denise Berry|
|Date of birth||June 29, 1989|
|Age||34 years old|
|Place of birth||St. Louis, Missouri, USA|
|Brothers||Michael and Davon|
|Occupation||Professional track and field athlete|
|Net worth||4 Million USD|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
Gwendolyn Berry Net Worth
Despite the controversies that she has faced on different occasions, Berry still has a great career.
She is the three-time national champion and has represented the USA in two Olympics. She also had sponsorships from New York Athletic Club and Nike.
All these helped her to earn a great deal of fortune. To this day, she has around 4 Million USD as her net worth.
Height and Physical Measurements
The 34 year-old athlete has a great height of 5 feet and 10 inches.
Because of her sport, she has a toned muscular body. Despite weighing around 88 kgs, she is still smaller compared to other athletes who have careers in the hammer throw.
Family, Parents, Siblings, and Personal Life
Berry was born in St. Louis in Missouri, to her parents Michael and Laura. However, she grew up in Florissant with her two brothers, Michael and Davon, and sister Quincy.
Her parents had her when they were still teens. When she was born, her dad was only seventeen years old.
Initially, her mother took her with her but later, her father decided to raise her in his own large family. So, she moved to her father’s house.
While staying with her father, she grew up among thirteen other family members and was taken care of by her paternal grandmother.
It was because of her father’s upbringing that she became aware of racism from an early age. Her father taught her everything about the history of the black community in the USA.
She grew up with the same mentality that she had to do something for herself and her community. So, she decided to work through the problems through her talent in sports.
However, her life was not that easy. She got pregnant at the early age of fifteen when she was still in high school.
Things got worse when her brother got deployed to Iraq after being recruited in the US Army.
Despite things not going her way, she did not give up. Instead, she gathered all of her courage and gave birth to her son, Derrick.
She was a teen mom, but she knew the importance of education, so she asked her father to raise her son and completed high school.
She did not stop just in high school as after graduation, she joined Southern Illinois University and completed her college with a degree.
Berry not only scattered the norms of being a single mother, she even proved every bit of it wrong by establishing herself as one of the star athletes.
Besides being a great athlete, she is also an activist athlete. She has used her platform to draw attention to the injustice that the black community is facing.
In addition to this, she is also involved in many philanthropic activities. She is associated with organizations like St. Judes Children Research Hospital and Athletes for Hope.
Gwendolyn Berry Boyfriend and Relationship
The activist athlete has maintained privacy when it comes to her dating life. So, no one knows if she is in a relationship or single.
However, she has shared that she is a single mother who is raising her son, Derrick. She had her son when she was just fifteen years old and was still in high school.
She has been open about her kid, but when it came to her partner from back then, she has maintained silence to this day.
Berry went to McCluer High school in Florissant in Missouri to get her high school degree.
After graduating from high school, she enrolled in Southern Illinois University. She completed college in 2011 with a degree in psychology and criminal justice.
Career and Hammer Throw
The sixth hammer thrower of all time started her sports career during high school. However, she started her journey as a basketball player.
While still playing basketball, she was also active on tracks and fields during her off-seasons. She used to compete in triple jumps as a high schooler.
It was after she joined her college that she became committed to hammer throw. Berry had no interest in the throw when she started but later found it fun.
The same year she started, she won fourth place in the USA Junior Championship. She then kept improving and finally became the Missouri Valley Conference Champion.
With every event, she just kept her improvement going and even set the national and North American record during the Tucson Elite Classic event.
She also won gold during the Pan American Sports festivals in 2014 and Pan American Games in 2019.
Her collegiate college had many other victories. During the last year of her college, she even became the NCAA Indoor favorite weight thrower. She even won the weight throw during the Bloomington Indiana and became the second-best thrower in the world.
After graduating from college, she focused more on weight throws in indoor events and hammer throws in outdoor events.
In the following years, her career did not accelerate much as she started giving average performances. At one point, she even thought of giving up. But the New York Athletic Club approached her with sponsorship and stopped her from quitting.
She performed for the New York Athletic Club for years before signing a deal with Nike.
During the time with her initial sponsor, she did great on her indoor events but not so well on the outdoor ones.
Despite this, she continued her career as a thrower and finally made it to the 2016 Olympics trials, where she qualified for the national team after winning the second position.
Berry then represented the USA in the 2016 Rio Olympics but did not win any medal, as she came in fourteenth place.
Once she returned home, she started training harder than ever and competed in many other events before qualifying in the 2020 Olympics.
However, even this time, luck was not on her side as she returned home without any medals after coming in the eleventh position during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics final.
The three-time national champion has made headlines many times because of her skills and also many controversies.
Her first controversy started in 2016 when she got sanctioned by the anti-doping committee for using inhalers.
Though the inhalers were prescribed medicines, she still got disciplined by the committee as it was against the anti-doping rules.
This incident was a blow to her career as she was the number one player of that season and even set a weight throw record, but the committee canceled all of these.
It was just the starting for Berry as many more controversies followed her in the future.
In 2019, she got involved in another controversy after raising her fist at the end of the American national anthem during the Pan American Games.
Raising her fist was her way of protesting peacefully against the injustice to the Black Americans in the USA. Her protest was for all the Black Americans who lost their lives because of racism.
The protest was not violent, but the International Olympic committee saw it another way. The committee put a twelve months probation on her and cut all of her revenue. Due to this incident, she even lost her sponsorship and lost 50 thousand USD.
Despite the Olympic committee seeing it another way, there were still people who supported her. She even received a Toyota Humanitarian award and a 10 thousand USD donation to any charity of her choice for taking a stand for the black community. She used the donations for the charities working for the education of minority students.
This incident became a problem for Berry and her family as the committee cut all her overseas traveling and prize money. However, she kept fighting her battle and overcame all these obstacles after making it to the Olympic team.
When things were starting to settle, another controversy started for her during the 2020 US Olympic trials after she turned away from the American flag while the national anthem was playing and showed an activist athlete written black t-shirt.
Berry later implied it to be a setup. One of the officials had informed her that the national anthem would play before she entered the podium.
Even the USA Track and Field spokesperson cleared that the national anthem got played five minutes later than the scheduled time.
Berry received full support from other participants, but there were still few who felt otherwise.
Despite being in yet another controversy, she flew to Tokyo and even represented the USA in the 2020 Olympics.