After the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said it was just fine with shot-putter Raven Saunders using the medal podium as a backdrop for a protest, the International Olympic Committee said it won’t roll over quite yet.
On Sunday, Saunders stood on the medal podium after placing second and crossed her arms over her head.
Although IOC rules forbid protests during medal ceremonies, the USOPC said that because the action came during a photo op period and not the ceremony itself, no rules were broken.
“As with all delegations, Team USA is governed by the Olympic Charter and rules set forth by the IOC for Tokyo 2020,” the committee said in a statement, according to the New York Post.
“Per the USOPC’s delegation terms, the USOPC conducted its own review and determined that Raven Saunders’ peaceful expression in support of racial and social justice that happened at the conclusion of the ceremony was respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules related to demonstration,” it said.
However, IOC chief spokesman Mark Adams said Monday the international body was “looking into” the U.S. statement.
“We are also in contact with World Athletics,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Adams said, “We are not surprisingly looking into the matter, and will consider our next steps. We need to fully establish what’s going on and then take a decision from there,” according to USA Today.
Saunders, described as “an openly queer Black woman,” had to enlighten the uninformed about what she was trying to express with her podium gesture on Sunday.
“It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet,” she said, according to Fox News.
As word filtered down that Saunders might be punished for violating a rule, the silver medalist dared anyone to do so.
“Let them try and take this medal. I’m running across the border even though I can’t swim,” Saunders tweeted.
Let them try and take this medal. I’m running across the border even though I can’t swim ? https://t.co/B59N2v9KAk
— Raven HULK Saunders (@GiveMe1Shot) August 1, 2021
Many on Twitter were disgusted by her display.
Raven Saunders raises arms in ‘X’ on podium in Olympic protest – Washington Times https://t.co/jKlhD6PMbk
Why are you wearing an American uniform? Go somewhere else to live!
— Wahoo65 (@Wahoo1948) August 2, 2021
THIS IS WHAT WOULD STOP THIS CRAP START TAKING MEDALS AND FINE THE ONES WHO LOST AND PROTEST! No Respect: US Athlete Raven Saunders Risks Losing Medal After Flaunting Olympic Rules with Her Political Protest at Medal Ceremony https://t.co/kwd4FfFRnW via @gatewaypundit
— Greg Hull (@spfxdog) August 2, 2021
Raven Saunders “X” protest,Americans QUIT DISGRACING America give up protests of LGBT/BLM & more. You want to protest,protest the masks,the fear covid crap,the rich stomping on the poor.Nobody holds down the BLM/LGBT they wind you up,unfortunately they enjoy their learned hatred
— Kyle (@Bergen_J) August 2, 2021
Saunders claimed she needed to speak for “people all around the world who are fighting and don’t have the platform to speak up for themselves,” according to the BBC.
“I really think that my generation really don’t care,” she said.
“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,” Saunders said.
— On Her Turf (@OnHerTurf) August 1, 2021
“To show younger people that no matter how many boxes they try to fit you in, you can be you and you can accept it. People tried to tell me not to do tattoos and piercings and all that. But look at me now, and I’m poppin,'” she said.
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