Fencer Race Imboden kneels on podium during American anthem

United States fencer Race Imboden followed Colin Kaepernick's lead at the Pan American Games in Peru by kneeling during the American national anthem.

United States fencer Race Imboden followed Colin Kaepernick's lead at the Pan American Games in Peru by kneeling during the national anthem.

The 26-year-old was part of the American squad that won gold in the team foil event along with Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin, and Imboden knelt at the medal ceremony on Friday in the manner of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick, who first took a knee in 2016 as a protest against racial and social injustice.

Imboden, who had previously knelt at the men's foil fencing World Cup in 2017, later explained the motivation for his act on Twitter.

"We must call for change," he wrote.

"This week I am honoured 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."

 

Kaepernick later retweeted Imboden's post from his own account.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said Imboden could face possible sanctions for his act because athletes had committed "to terms including refraining from political demonstrations".

"In this case, Race didn't adhere to the commitment he made to the organising committee and the USOPC," USOPC spokesperson Mark Jones said in quotes published by NBC.

"We respect his rights to express his viewpoints, but we are disappointed that he chose not to honour his commitment.

"Our leadership are reviewing what consequences may result."