Silver Medalist Raven Saunders Defies Olympic Protest Ban By Making An ‘X’ With Her Hands

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 01: Raven Saunders of Team United States makes an 'X' gesture during the medal ceremony for the Women's Shot Put on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 01, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Silver Medalist Raven Saunders Defies Olympic Protest Ban By Making An ‘X’ With Her Hands

The International Olympic Committee is now investigating.

UPDATED ON : AUGUST 2, 2021 / 06:21 PM

Written by BET Staff

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it will look into the protest gesture of U.S. silver medalist Raven Saunters after she created an “X” with her hands as a form of protest on the podium while receiving her hardware, Sports Illustrated reports.

On August 1, after taking the silver medal in the women's shot put final at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, the 25-year-old formed the symbol with her hands. She made the gesture after the anthem ended and when medalists were told to take off their masks for photos.  

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According to the Associated Press, the openly LGBTQ shot putter, who hurled the heavy ball nearly 65 feet, said she created the “X” because “it's the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet." 


Saunders also said her ultimate mission is “to show younger people that no matter how many boxes they try to fit you in, you can be you and you can accept it. People tried to tell me not to do tattoos and piercings and all that. But look at me now, and I’m poppin’.”

Olympic athletes are banned from disruptive protesting during the games, but the U.S. Olympic committee has said that it does not believe Saunders broke any rules, calling it a “peaceful expression in support of racial and social justice.”

Although the IOC has promised an investigation, which could result in sanctions, it is unclear what they would be. For her part, Saunders is confident that she will be keeping her medal, saying so in a tweet.

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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