Raven Saunders, the Tokyo Olympic silver medalist who raised a cross over her head in protest after receiving the award, has been banned for 18 months for not showing up for drug tests.
Saunders committed three “whereabouts failures” during the 12-month period ending Aug. 15, the US Anti-Doping Agency said Wednesday. Saunders will miss the World Championships this year but will still be eligible for the Paris Olympics next year.
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Raven Saunders of the USA poses with her silver medal in the women’s shot put at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday, August 1, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
The 26-year-old has joined a growing list of high-profile athletes facing penalties for missing tests, including world sprint champions Christian Coleman and Salva Eid Nasser, according to the Associated Press. A series of missed tests may result in disqualification, but is not considered evidence that the athlete has used a prohibited substance.
Saunders was fourth in the US national competition the previous year and did not qualify for the World Championship. She then announced that she would be taking a vacation until the end of 2022, which happened about a month before her last missed test. The other two were in January and May.
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Raven Saunders of the USA competes in the women’s shot put final at the 2020 Summer Olympics on Sunday, August 1, 2021 in Tokyo.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
During a photo shoot at the awards ceremony at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, Saunders stepped off the podium, raised her arms above her head and formed an “X” with her wrists.
“This is the crossroads where all oppressed people meet,” she said when asked what her protest means.
Saunders, who is openly gay, often wondered if the Olympics could live up to the mission of diversity.
“Be yourself. Don’t apologize,” she said in a wide conversation after finishing in second place. “To show young people that no matter what box they try to fit you in, you can be yourself and you can accept it. People tried to tell me not to get tattoos and piercings and all that. But look at me now and I’m popping.”
Raven Saunders of the United States competes in the women’s shot put qualifying rounds for the 2020 Summer Olympics on Friday, July 30, 2021 in Tokyo.(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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Saunders received support from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) following the protest. The International Olympic Committee relaxed some of its rules regarding protests and political gestures at the Olympics, but continued to ban demonstrations during award ceremonies. The USOPC said it would not penalize athletes who paraded on the podium.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Ryan Gaidos is a senior editor at Fox News Digital.
The Chicago Bears lost to running back David Montgomery against the Detroit Lions in free agency, but on Thursday they picked up someone who can help catch up on the field. Via ESPNThe Bears agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with former Carolina Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman.
Foreman is finishing a year of his career in which he rushed for 914 yards and threw five touchdowns while averaging 4.5 yards per throw. He helped the Carolinas catch up after trading Christian McCaffrey and became a key offensive player for the Panthers.
In fact, Foreman impressed in his last two seasons in the NFL. He became the leader of the Tennessee Titans back in 2021 after Derrick Henry went down with a foot injury. Foreman rushed for 566 yards and threw for three touchdowns in nine games played and helped Tennessee to the top spot in the standings. 1 seed in AFC without best player.
Foreman was originally selected in the third round by the Houston Texans in 2017 from Texas. However, a torn Achilles in his rookie season derailed his time in Houston and was waived before the 2019 season. The Indianapolis Colts did not require him to waive that year, but another injury caused him to miss the entire season.
Foreman joins quarterback PJ Walker and wide receiver DJ Moore as the other Panthers who joined the Bears this offseason. Foreman, 26, has plenty of tread left on his tires if he can stay healthy. With Justin Fields, Khalil Herbert, and now Foreman, Chicago once again boasts one of the most effective rush attacks in the NFL.