“I wanted to be respectful of the national anthem being played,” she told the Times.
The X-gesture, which she said represents unity among all oppressed people, was not spontaneous but had been planned, Ms. Saunders said.
She told the Times that a group text message several weeks ago among athletes in multiple sports planned the demonstration.
The group collectively decided that the X would be their symbol. More demonstrations like hers will come, she said.
Ms. Saunders’ X, and presumably any others, has led to friction between the International Olympic Committee, which prohibits demonstrations on the podium or during competition, and U.S. Olympic officials.
The IOC said Sunday night that national Olympic committees must punish their athletes who violate the rules. But officials with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee have said they will not penalize expressions of free speech as long as it does not express what they consider hatred.
• Victor Morton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.