One U.S. Olympian grabbed everyone's attention with her stance during the Tokyo Games. Raven Saunders placed second in shot put, and during the medal ceremony, the 25-year-old raised her hands in an "X" formation above her head. When talking to the Associated Press, Saunders said "it's the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet."
"Shout out to all my Black people. Shout out to all my LGBTQ community. Shout out to all my people dealing with mental health," Saunders said, per NBC News. And when talking to reporters, Saunders talked about how big it was for her to earn a medal as she has dealt her hardships while growing up in South Carolina.
Shot put #TeamUSA Silver medalist Raven Saunders made an 'X' to show support & signify the intersection of where all oppressed people meet during the medal ceremony.
Her gesture was meaningful & respectful.
There is nothing for the IOC to investigate. https://t.co/BbUrVQCDYk— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 2, 2021
"I feel amazing, because I know I'm going to inspire so many people," Saunders said. "About to inspire so many young girls, so many young boys, so many LGBTQ people, people who have battled suicide. So many people would have almost given up...it's not, it's not just about me." The question is will Saunders will get in trouble? The International Olympic Committee says that protests should occur "prior to the start of the competition" but not during medal ceremonies.
"The International Olympic Committee wants to punish US shot putter Raven Saunders for this modest protest 'for oppressed people' just after the Tokyo medal ceremony," says Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, per Yahoo News. "The US Olympic Committee is rightfully refusing to restrict her right to free expression."
Raven Saunders 😂❤️. Olympic Silver Medalist pic.twitter.com/ypSqQOxQN1— Hercules (@SailasTemwa) August 1, 2021
Saunders qualified for the Olympics after placing second at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials. She competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and finished in fifth place. Saunders competed in track and field at Ole Miss and won the national title in 2016 and 2016.
"Everything I've been through these past five years has been crazy," Saunders said. "I remember so many times sitting in my car, crying not knowing how I was gonna pay my bills. Not knowing if I was going to be healthy, but I gave it everything I had."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.