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02nd Aug 2021

IOC investigating Raven Saunders ‘X’ protest during Olympics medal ceremony

Charlie Herbert

She did the gesture despite political statements being banned on the podium.

American athlete Raven Saunders performed a public protest on the podium as she raised her arms in a striking “X” shape.

The 25-year-old had won silver in the shot put, and made the gesture as she accepted her medal.

Afterwards, she explained that the X was meant to represent “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.”

The gesture could get Saunders in trouble with Olympic authorities though. Political statements are banned during competition and on the winners podium at the games.

Competitors are allowed to make gestures before events, which is why some athletes have been able to take the knee before competing.

The USOPC said Saunders’ gesture did not breach its rules, but Reuters reports the IOC are investigating a potential breach of its rules.

Raven Saunders made a “X” shape with her hands as she collected her shot put silver medal.

Throughout the games Saunders has sported a multi-coloured shaved head and worn face masks with different comic book characters on such as the Hulk and the Joker.

But she has also spoken out about her struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, and the need for LGBTQ+ individuals like herself to embrace talking about mental health.

A similar gesture was then made by US fencer Race Imboden as he collected his bronze medal at a different venue.

Imboden had a X with a circle around it drawn on his hand, a symbol that had not been present whilst he was competing.

It remains to be seen whether the pair will be punished for the gestures. The punishments that they could face include having their medals strupped or being barred from future competition.