US silver medalist shot putter Raven Saunders gave a political demonstration on Sunday at the Olympic Games podium during the last event at the Tokyo Games.
During the photoshoot at her medal ceremony, Saunders stepped off the podium, raised her arms above her head and formed an “X” with her wrists.
“This is the crossroads where all oppressed people meet,” she said when asked what her protest meant.
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Saunders, who is openly gay, has often questioned whether the Olympics could live up to the diversity mission.
” Being me. Don’t apologize, ”she said in a high-profile conversation after her second place finish. “To show the younger ones that no matter how many boxes they try to put you in, you can be you and you can accept it. People tried to tell me not to get tattoos and piercings and all that. But look at me now, and I’m having a blast. “
Moments after Saunders’ protest, US fencer Race Imboden was also seen with an X circled on his hand as he stepped onto the podium at another location after the US foil team beat Japan in the match for the bronze medal.
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The Saunders protest comes after a handful of other Olympians demonstrated during the summer games, including players from the US women’s soccer team, who knelt to protest racism and discrimination before a match with Sweden last month.
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“This is an opportunity for us to continue to use our voices and our platforms to talk about the things that affect us all intimately in different ways,” said the player. Megan Rapinoé said after their 3-0 loss to Sweden.
British and Chilean footballers also knelt before a match on July 21 to protest racial inequalities.
“We were convinced as a group that we wanted to show our support for those affected by discrimination and equality,” said Britain’s captain Steph Houghton. “It was a proud moment because the Chilean players also got down on their knees to show how united we are as a sport. “
The players of the Australian women’s football team also posed with an indigenous flag and tied arms last month as their New Zealand counterparts knelt last in protest against racism.
The acts of protest come after the International Olympic Committee relaxed rules banning protests before the Tokyo Olympics, but IOC chief Thomas Bach added that athletes could not protest at the medal stand.
“The podium and the medal ceremonies are not made… for a political demonstration or otherwise. They are made to honor athletes and medalists for sporting achievements and not for their privacy. 1, ”Bach said last month.
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He threatened with sanctions the athletes who protest on the podium, but it is not known what the sanctions would be.
Other forms of protests also surfaced during the games, with some members of the US men’s fencing team wearing pink masks on Friday in apparent protest against teammate Alen Hadzic, who was accused of sexual misconduct . While a French boxer also sat on the apron of the Olympic ring in protest on Sunday, after a referee disqualified him for intentionally head butting a British opponent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.