Bronze medal-winning fencer Race Imboden expressed his support for fellow Team USA medalist Raven Saunders, while at the same time protesting gun violence and the IOC. Imboden posted a photo from his team foil medal ceremony with a circled X drawn on the back of his right hand.
"The X is a symbol of solidarity," Imboden tweeted. "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." That IOC rule forbids protest or propaganda during the Olympics.
The X is a symbol of solidarity.
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, … pic.twitter.com/2FaeCwNPt2
— Race Imboden (@Race_Imboden) August 3, 2021
"In support of athletes of color," Imboden continued, "Ending Gun violence, and all the athletes and who wish to use their voice on the platform they’ve earned. 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."
On Sunday, during podium photos, not the anthem, Saunders raised her arms to form an X, later saying it represented "the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet."
The IOC indicated it would investigate Saunders' actions, but more recently suspended that investigation following the death of Saunders' mother.
Imboden has brought protest to the podium in the past. At the 2019 Pan-American Games, where the United States won the gold medal, Imboden took a knee on the podium:
We must call for change.
This week I am honored to represent Team USA at the Pan Am Games, taking home Gold and Bronze. My pride however has been cut short by the multiple shortcomings of the country I hold so dear to my heart. Racism, Gun Control, mistreatment of immigrants, pic.twitter.com/deCOKaHQI9
— Race Imboden (@Race_Imboden) August 10, 2019
Imboden indicated at the time that he was protesting in support of gun control and immigrants, and against racism and then-President Donald Trump. The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee put him on probation for 12 months for the protest.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at email@example.com.
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