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American fencer Imboden stages protest atop Pan Am podium

American fencer Race Imboden was already at the top of the podium at the Pan American Games in Lima when he took centre stage. Imboden knelt during the playing of the American national anthem, in protest of racism, gun violence and President Donald Trump's policies.

Gold medallist took a knee to protest racism, gun violence, President Trump

Gold medalist Race Imboden of United States takes a knee during the National Anthem Ceremony in the podium of Fencing Men's Foil Team Gold Medal Match Match on Day 14 of Lima 2019 Pan American Games at Fencing Pavilion of Lima Convention Center on August 09, 2019 in Lima, Peru. (Leonardo Fernandez/Getty Images)

American fencer Race Imboden was already at the top of the podium at the Pan American Games in Lima when he took centre stage.

Imboden knelt during the playing of the American national anthem, in protest of racism, gun violence and President Donald Trump's policies.

The civil rights protest known as "taking a knee" was started by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016, as a silent form of protest against police brutality, and has since gained traction, with other athletes following suit.

In a series of tweets, Imboden explained his actions.

"We must call for change. 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 sacrifie 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."

The 26-year-old Florida native won the gold medal in the men's team foil event along with teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin.

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