US silver medal shot put star Raven Saunders makes most high-profile Olympic political gesture with X symbol on podium

AMERICAN athlete Raven Saunders raised her arms to make an X symbol on the podium in Tokyo 2020.

The US shot put star won silver before making the political gesture – which is being investigated by Olympic bosses.

After winning the medal on Sunday morning, Saunders said she hoped to continue to inspire and motivate others – including the LGBTQ community, black people and those struggling with mental health.

She had previously spoken about having major issues with mental health and suffering bouts of depression.

The International Olympic Committee is looking a potential breach of rules banning protests on medal podiums by Saunders.

The IOC is in contact with World Athletics and the United States Olympic Committee, a spokesman told a news conference on Monday.

The IOC last month relaxed its Rule 50, which had forbidden athletes from any protests.

It now allows them to make gestures on the field, provided they do so without disruption and with respect for fellow competitors.

However, the threat of sanctions still remain if any protests are made on the podium during the medal ceremony.

"Let them try and take this medal," Saunders said in a late night post on social media in an apparent reference to the IOC's rules restricting protests.

"I'm running across the border even though I can't swim," she wrote on Twitter, ending the post with an emoji of a face with tears of laughter.

The Tokyo Games has seen its fair share of protests with the captain of the German women's hockey team wearing an armband in rainbow colours in solidarity with LGBTQ communities during the team's matches.

The Australian women's football team unfurled an indigenous flag prior to their opening match and several other women's teams took a knee in a signal against racial inequality.

Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado raised a fist while taking the knee at the end of her routine, in support of racial equality.

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