Olympic Committee Looking Into Gesture American Made on Podium
The International Olympic Committee is reviewing a gesture a Team USA silver medalist made on the podium, which could violate rules the panel announced in April.
Raven Saunders made an “x” above her head on Sunday in Tokyo while on the podium after winning the silver medal in shot put.
Saunders told The Associated Press she made the symbol because “it’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.”
“I really think my generation really don’t care,” Saunders added. “Shout out to all my black people, shout out to all my LBGTQ community, shout out to everybody dealing with mental health. Because at the end of the day, we understand that it’s bigger than us, and it’s bigger than the powers that be.”
The International Olympic Committee said before the Olympics that athletes who protested by making gestures on the podium would face punitive measures.
Violations would be examined on a case-by-case basis, officials said at the time.
Mark Adams, a spokesperson for the committee, told a press conference on Monday that “we are looking into the matter and will now consider our next steps.”
Athletes are free to express themselves during press conferences, on social media, and in other venues. But Adams noted that most athletes, in a survey of thousands of them, said they did not want protests during competitions or on podiums.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee told news outlets that Saunders’s gesture “was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration.”
Saunders took to Twitter to write, “Let them try and take this medal,” adding, “I’m running across the border even though I can’t swim.”
She added a laughing emoji.
Saunders, 25, of South Carolina, lost to China’s Lijiao Gong. New Zealand’s Valerie Adams took bronze.
“I’m really proud to win this competition for my country and not only for myself but also for all the people in China who supported me,” Gong told reporters.