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US medalist Raven Saunders protests ‘X’ at Olympic ceremony in support of the oppressed

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US team Raven Saunders used their second place in Tokyo to defend the underdog, she said, likely violating the Olympics rules on political protest during games.

Saunders, 25, raised her hands in an “X” shape above her head on Sunday during a photoshoot on the podium after the medal ceremony where she accepted the silver medal for the female shot put. When asked what the symbol meant, she told The Associated Press, this is the intersection where all of the oppressed meet.

“Shout out to all of my black people. Shout out to all of my LGBTQ community. Shout out to all of my people struggling with mental health,” Saunders said.

She then explained to reporters how meaningful the victory was to her, having struggled with financial hardship and depression. Saunders, a native of South Carolina and openly gay, said her victory was so much more than she was.

I feel amazing, because I know I’m going to inspire so many people, Saunders said. About to inspire so many young girls, so many young boys, so many LGBTQ people, people who have struggled with suicide. So many people would have almost given up … it’s not, it’s not just about me.

Saunders goes by the Hulk nickname and went to the field on Sunday with purple and green hair. She also delighted fans by dancing after her victory, twerking during the live broadcast.

She choked on a post-victory interview describing her trip to Tokyo after years of struggling with mental health issues.

Everything I’ve been through for the past five years has been crazy, Saunders said. I remember so many times sitting in my car, crying without knowing how I was going to pay my bills. Not knowing if I was going to be healthy, but gave her everything I had.

The move was likely in violation of the Olympic Charter, which added a rule against protests in 1975. It is not known what consequences may be imposed by the International Olympic Committee.

On Twitter, Saunders wrote: Let them try to take this medal. I am crossing the border even though I cannot swim.

The question has already been raised with American hammer thrower Gwen Berry. She raised her fist on the podium after winning the hammer throw at the 2019 Pan American Games in Peru, which led to a one-year probation by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. The committee has since apologized to Berry.

The Associated Press contributed.

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