‘Try and take this medal’ Lowcountry athlete under fire for gesture at Olympics

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:55 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - The Lowcountry’s own Raven Saunders is being scrutinized by officials with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after making an “X” with her arms at her medaling ceremony.

After receiving her silver medal for women’s shot put at the Olympics on Sunday, and after the Chinese national anthem played for winner Gong Lijiao, Saunders lifted her arms above her head and formed an “X” with her wrists.

Asked by The Associated Press what that meant, she explained: “It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.”

During the International Olympic Committee’s press briefing Monday morning, spokesman Mark Adams said the IOC was in contact with the USOPC regarding the episode.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee says shot putter Raven Saunders’ gesture during her medals ceremony “was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration.”

The USOPC confirmed that it was “in discussion” with the IOC and World Athletics, which governs the sport. World Athletics President Seb Coe has previously said he didn’t anticipate sanctioning demonstrations if the decision were left up to the federation.

The USOPC has stated it will not sanction athletes who demonstrate on the podium. The IOC reviewed its long-standing policy but kept the rule in place that bars demonstrations on the medals stand.

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