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Team USA's Raven Saunders gestures on the podium with her silver medal after competing in the women's shot put event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee is "looking into" U.S. shot-putter Raven Saunders' gesture on the Tokyo Games podium after she won a silver medal, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams told reporters Monday.

Why it matters: Saunders told AP she placed her hands above her head in an "X" formation while on the podium to stand up for "oppressed" people. The IOC has banned protests during the Tokyo Games.

What she's saying: "Shout out to all my Black people, shout out to all my LBGTQ community, shout out to everybody dealing with mental health," said Saunders, who is black and openly gay, after taking the stand, per AP.

  • "Because at the end of the day, we understand that it’s bigger than us, and it’s bigger than the powers that be."
  • She told reporters after winning her silver medal, "I feel amazing, because I know I'm going to inspire so many people.
  • "About to inspire so many young girls, so many young boys, so many LGBTQ people, people who have battled suicide. So many people would have almost given up ... it's not just about me."

What to watch: The IOC is "in contact" with the World Athletics governing body and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee on the matter in order to determine whether any further action will be taken, per Adams.

The big picture: China's Gong Lijiao won the gold medal in the women's shot put at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium and New Zealand's Valerie Adams claimed bronze.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Mark Adams.

Go deeper

Sep 5, 2021 - Sports

U.S. beats China for Paralympics gold in women's sitting volleyball

Team USA's Alexis Shifflett serves the ball during the Tokyo Paralympic Games women's sitting volleyball pool match against Rwanda in Chiba, Japan, on Aug. 28. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images

Team USA won gold in the Tokyo Paralympic Games women's sitting volleyball final on Sunday morning local time.

The big picture: The defending champions beat China 3-1 in the final. After the event was added to the Paralympics in 2004, China won the first three golds. The Americans' win took the U.S. Paralympic medals tally to 103, including 36 golds.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of China's previous wins in the event.

2020 was the deadliest year for environmental defenders

Engineer Sandra Cuéllar is one of many Colombians who've gone missing or been killed for their environmental activism. Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images

Latin America and the Caribbean is the deadliest region for environmental defenders, a violent record that has global repercussions.

Why it matters: The region has several of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, but they are constantly threatened by logging, mining or aquifer overexploitation.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate offices closing ahead of "Justice for J6" demonstration

Security fencing outside the U.S. Capitol ahead of a planned "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C.. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Multiple congressional offices will be closed Friday amid security precautions ahead of Saturday's rally in support of jailed Jan. 6 rioters, aides who have been instructed to work remotely tell Axios.

Why it matters: As the U.S. Capitol faces its first large-scale security test since the deadly attack, House and Senate offices are taking precautionary measures to protect staff as well as lawmakers.