U.S. foil fencer Race Imboden showed support for fellow U.S. Olympian Raven Saunders, who competed in the shot put, on Tuesday. Imboden posted a picture of himself posing with his team's bronze medal won in the men's foil while sporting an X drawn on his hand.
"The X is a symbol of solidarity," Imboden said in the tweet. "Some of the athletes communicated and decided upon this symbol to show solidarity for each other and support the oppressed."
"For me, I personally wore the symbol as a demonstration against rule 50. In support of athletes of color, ending gun violence and all the athletes and who wish to use their voice on the platform they've earned."
Rule 50 is referring to the prohibition of Olympic athletes from protesting or demonstrating at the Olympics. Saunders may face punishment for her demonstration after winning silver in the shot put on Sunday.
During a photo op on the Olympic stand with her silver medal, Saunders crossed her arms and formed an X above her head. When asked what it meant, Saunders responded, “It’s the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet.”
"Shout out to all my Black people. Shout out to all my LGBTQ community," Saunders later said, per NBC News. "Shout out to all my people dealing with mental health."
The IOC later announced it was in "contact" with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee on the matter. Imboden further addressed the IOC and its rules surrounding athletes.
"I also wish to draw attention to the hypocrisy of the IOC, and all of the organizations who profit so immensely off the athletes and have yet to hear their call for change."
Imboden protested at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima by taking a knee at the stand when his team won gold. He later expressed similar reasons why he took the knee and called out then President Donald Trump.
Imboden was put on a 12-month probation for the demonstration by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
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