US shot putter Raven Saunders on Sunday made the first podium protest of the Tokyo Olympic Games after winning a silver medal in the event. During the medal ceremony, Saunders raised her arms and crossed them into an X shape.
The 25-year-old, who is black, gay, said after the ceremony that the gesture represented "the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet."
She said she wanted to represent "people all around the world who are fighting and don't have the platform to speak up for themselves," as quoted by AFP.
"I'm part of a lot of communities," added Saunders, who could be seen twerking in celebration after her final shot put throw.
"Shout out to all my black people. Shout out to all my LGBTQ community. Shout out to all my people dealing with mental health." - Raven Saunders
"I really think that my generation really don't care," Saunders said.
"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."
Olympic officials said on Monday that they were looking into the matter and added that Saunders risks a possible disciplinary action, reported AFP.
"We are, not surprisingly, looking into the matter and we'll now consider our next steps," IOC spokesman Mark Adams was quoted as saying by the AFP. "I think we need to fully understand what's going on and then take a decision from there," he added. Adams said the IOC was in touch with the US Olympic committee and track and field's governing body, World Athletics.
In July, the International Olympic Committee had come up with guidelines that said that athletes' peaceful protests before and after the competition would be allowed. However, the guidelines also mentioned that demonstrations of any kind on the Olympic medal podium were banned.
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