Mother of Team USA’s Raven Saunders dies just days after her Olympic silver medal win

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Second-placed USA's Raven Saunders gestures on the podium with her silver medal after competing the women's shot put event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)
Second-placed USA's Raven Saunders gestures on the podium with her silver medal after competing the women's shot put event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)

The mother of Team USA’s Raven Saunders has died just days after the shot putter won an Olympic silver medal at Tokyo 2020.

The track and field star, who raised her arms over her head in an “X” formation protest on the podium, announced the death of Clarissa Saunders on social media.

“My mama was a great woman and will forever live through me,” said Saunders.

“My number one guardian angel … I will always and forever love you.”

Clarissa Saunders had been in Orlando, Florida, for an official watch party when she died.

She was known for working at Krispy Kreme to help raise the money to send Raven to her first Olympics in Rio in 2016.

The company also raised money to send Clarissa and her other daughter, Tanzania, to Rio to watch Raven compete.

The silver medal-winning shot putter made her symbolic protest on Sunday, in violation of the Olympic ban on medal ceremony protests.

Saunders, 25, of Charleston, South Carolina, told reporters that her protest was designed to show “the intersection where all people who are oppressed meet.”

On Mother’s Day, Saunders took to Instagram to pay tribute to her mother’s strength and ability to “push through anything.”

“You’ve given me life and shown me love and for that I owe you everything. Happy Mother’s Day to the number one woman in my life. I love you and thank you for being a great mother!!!!” she wrote.

US track and field officials paid tribute to Clarissa Saunders on Twitter.

“The USOPC & USATF would like to offer Raven our most sincere condolences. Her mother leaves behind an incredible legacy in her daughter for who we are so proud and grateful to call our teammate,” they wrote.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Saunders family during this difficult time.”

Read More

Olympics skateboarding schedule: When will Sky Brown perform?

Tokyo Olympics LIVE: GB cycling after Puerto Rico win hurdles gold

Laurel Hubbard: New Zealand transgender weightlifter in profile

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting