So 25-year-old Saunders is the first athlete to use the medal ceremony to deliver a political message since the start of the Games in Tokyo. According to the US press, Saunders, a black athlete who campaigns for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, said she “represents all the people struggling around the world who lack a platform to get their voices heard.”
“My message is to keep fighting, to keep up the pressure (…),” she said at a press conference. “It’s important to me to get this silver because I represent so many different people, and I know there are so many people looking at me, texting and praying for me. I’m happy to be able to take this medal home for them too, not just for me.” “.
Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the International Olympic Committee announced that athletes will now be able to raise political or social issues in conversations with the media, before and after their competitions, during team meetings or on social networks. The podiums and medal ceremonies were not included in the new guidelines, which means Saunders could theoretically be sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC is contacting the United States Olympic and Paralympic Federation (USOPC) regarding the investigation. A fine from the USOPC appears out of the question for Saunders: The union calls for the gesture to be respectful towards opponents rather than a violation of protest rules. An IOC spokesperson confirmed that the majority of athletes support the new rules.
All cameras at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo zoomed right into Saunders when she began her final shot this weekend. She entered the track wearing large sunglasses, in fact a greenish-purple mask. Saunders hit the bullet 19.79 meters with a mouth mask from the Hulk and celebrated the silver with some dancing and twerking.
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