Out Black shot-putter Raven Saunders has explained what the gesture she made was about following her silver medal win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The 25-year-old raised her hands and crossed them in an X as she and her fellow medal winners posed for photos, telling NBC that it represented
“the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.”
Saunders bagged her first Olympic medal Saturday, finishing with a distance of 19.79 meters. China’s Gong Lijiao won gold and New Zealand’s Valerie Adams the bronze.
And after winning her medal, she says she wants to be a role model for others like her.
“For me, just being who I always aspired to be, to be able to be me and not apologize for it (and) show the younger generation that no matter what they tell you, no matter how many boxes they try to fit you in, you can be you.
People tell me not to do tattoos and piercings, but now look at me, I’m popping.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said it is looking into the gesture Saunders made on the podium, a potential breach of rules banning protests on medal podiums. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on Monday,
“We’re in contact with US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and with World Athletics.
I don’t want to say what those next steps would be until we fully understand what is going on. We don’t want to pre-empt anything. We try to respect the views of all the athletes; we’ve given them more opportunity to express themselves. Freedom of expression in press conferences, social media, mixed zone.
We’ve created possibilities before the sport begins to make protests.”
But one thing we have noted is we did a survey with 3,500 athletes (and) all those who answered wanted to protect the field of play. It would be good if everyone could respect the views of athletes.”
In reply to a tweet about her gesture, Saunders said,
“Let them try and take this medal.
I’m running across the border even though I can’t swim.”
Let them try and take this medal. I’m running across the border even though I can’t swim 😂 https://t.co/B59N2v9KAk— Raven HULK Saunders (@GiveMe1Shot) August 1, 2021