After securing the silver, American shot putter Raven Saunders offered the highest-profile protest in the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday night.
Saunders, raised her arms over her head in an “X” as she, gold medalist Lijiao Gong and bronze medalist Valerie Adams posed for photographers — she stood with her hands in front of her during the anthem, Yahoo Sports reports.
Saunders told The Associated Press that the symbol represented “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.”
Ahead of the games, the International Olympic Committee relaxed its Rule 50 so athletes could speak up in media conferences or during introductions, but IOC chief Thomas Bach reiterated that athletes could not protest on the medal stand.
Bach has threatened sanctions for athletes who protest on the podium, though it is unclear what the sanctions would be.
OutKick previously reported that IOC’s Athlete’s Commission Chief Kristy Coventry said preserving the podium is a priority.
“A very clear majority of athletes said that they think it’s not appropriate to demonstrate or express their views on the field of play, at the official ceremonies or at the podium,” she said. “So, our recommendation is to preserve the podium, field of play and official ceremonies from any kind of protest or demonstrations or acts perceived as such.”
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee allowed protests at its Trials for these Games — once at the Olympics athletes are under IOC rules.
With a throw of 19.79 meters, Saunders finished second to China’s Gong — her second throw was considered to be even farther, but she was called for a foul for stepping outside of the circle, Sports Illustrated reports.
The 25-year-old Charleston, South Carolina native’s celebration with her teammates took social media by storm before she took the podium.
Earlier this week, three-time Olympian Lolo Jones slammed Olympic protests and said a percentage of viewers are tuning out because of the politicization of the global event.
New FanDuel Sportsbook users can make their first bet risk-free up to $1,000. If the bet loses, the FanDuel Sportsbook will refund you in site credit. New users can lock in this offer NOW by clicking this link.