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USOPC: Raven Saunders didn’t violate rules with her protest

Saunders was placed under IOC investigation after winning silver in the shot put.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 9
The USOPC concludes the Saunders’ silent protest on the medal stand “was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration.”
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Olympic silver medalist Raven Saunders didn’t violate any rules with her protest Saturday night, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said Monday.

At the end of the medal ceremony, Saunders raised her hands and crossed them in an “X” formation.

In an interview with NBC, she said the gesture represented, “the intersection of where all people who oppressed meet”.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 9
Saunders said the protest reflects “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet”
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

In their statement, the USOPC stated:

Per the USOPC’s delegation terms, the USOPC conducted its own review and determined that Raven Saunders’ peaceful expression in support of racial and social justice that happened at the conclusion of the ceremony was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our ruled related to demonstration.

Saunders, who is Black and openly LGBTQ, has been one of the more intriguing figures of the track and field competition at these Olympics. She’s attracted attention as much for her joyous demeanor, the lucha-esque character masks, and two-toned hair color as her silver-winning effort.

Tokyo 2020 - Athletics
The Hulk mask adorned her face during shot put finals, where she threw her way to a silver medal
Photo by Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

“I want to give a shout out to all the LGBTQ community,” Saunders said in a post-event interview with NBC. “I came in here with one goal to get a medal because it represents everybody who is out here struggling. It’s not just about me.”