IOC ‘considering their next steps’ as they investigate US shot putter Raven Saunders for making an ‘X’ gesture on the podium after receiving silver medal in most high-profile protest yet at the Tokyo Olympics
The International Olympic Committee have refused to rule out taking action against US shot putter Raven Saunders after she made an ‘X’ gesture on the podium.
Officials are investigating the 25–year-old’s actions, which came after she received her silver medal on Sunday.
Last month the IOC relaxed Rule 50, which forbade athletes from making protests. Now, they can make gestures on the field provided they do so without disrupting or disrespecting fellow competitors.
US shot putter Raven Saunders launched a protest from the Olympic medal winner’s podium
However, the threat of sanctions remains should protests be made on the podium during medal ceremonies.
When asked about the gesture, Saunders said: ‘It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.’
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) have previously said they would not sanction athletes who demonstrate on the podium. They added that Saunders’ gesture was ‘respectful of her competitors and did not violate our rules’.
Simone Biles posted a picture of the athlete with her arms crossed on the podium to her 6.5 million Instagram followers. Under the photo were the words: ‘Gave everything for this’
However, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on Sunday: ‘We are looking into it and will consider our next steps.’
The USOPC is in discussion with the IOC and World Athletics, whose president Lord Coe has already said he does not anticipate sanctions if the decision is left to the federation.
Meanwhile, a sprinter from Belarus who refused her team’s order to fly home early from the Games has been granted a humanitarian visa by Poland.
American shot putter Saunders (pictured) won the silver medal in her competition on Sunday
Krystina Timanovskaya was at the Polish embassy in Tokyo on Monday night after spending the previous evening in a hotel under protection from Japanese police.
The 24-year-old claimed she was entered into the 4x400m relay without her permission, refused and was subsequently ordered to leave and stopped from competing in her preferred event, the 200m.
Belarus say she was removed from the team because of her emotional state. Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said the country would do ‘whatever is necessary to help her continue her career’.