Olympics investigates Team USA athlete Raven Saunders over defiant podium protest

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Raven Saunders paid tribute to Black and LGBT+ communities and those struggling with their mental health after winning an Olympic silver medal.

The Team USA athlete defied Olympics rules which ban protest on the podium when she raised her arms in the shape of an X to represent “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet”.

Saunders, who took silver in the women’s shot put, is now being investigated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which said at a news conference Monday (2 August) that it was “in discussions with World Athletics and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee”.

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In response, Saunders tweeted: “Let them try and take this medal.”

Olympian Raven Saunders took a stand because ‘so many people look up to us’

According to The Guardian, Raven Saunders, who has also struggled with her mental health, explained after competing that she wanted her gesture to help “people all around the world who are fighting and don’t have the platform to speak up for themselves”.

She continued: “I really think that my generation really don’t care. At the end of the day, we really don’t care.

“Shout out to all my Black people. Shout out to all my LGBTQ community. Shout out to all my people dealing with mental health.

“At the end of the day, we understand it’s bigger than us and it’s bigger than the powers that be. We understand that there’s so many people that are looking up to us, that are looking to see if we say something or if we speak up for them.”

Specifically addressing mental health, as the world celebrates (and criticises) the decision by Olympic gymnast Simone Biles to withdraw from a series of events because of her own mental health struggles, Saunders added: “It’s OK to be strong. And it’s OK to not be strong 100 per cent of the time. It’s OK to be able to need people.”

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