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Race Imboden: What US Olympic fencer’s black X symbol on his hand means

By Gawon Bae, CNN

US Olympic fencer and bronze medalist Race Imboden says he wore a black X symbol on his hand when he posed on the podium as a “demonstration.”

Imboden and his teammates won the bronze medal match in the men’s foil team event against Japan with a total score of 45 to 31, with Imboden defeating Kyosuke Matsuyama 10 to 7.

“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,” Imboden tweeted on Wednesday.

“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 who wish to use their voice on the platform they’ve earned,” Imboden added.

The Rule 50 ban, which prevents athletes from protesting or demonstrating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, was upheld by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ahead of this summer’s Games.

In July, the IOC revised the rule by passing Rule 50.2, which permits athletes to express their views in mixed zones, press conferences, during interviews and several other locations. However, athletes are still not allowed to protest while on the podium.

According to IOC guidelines, sanctions for athletes who violate Rule 50 are handled on a case-by-case basis “to ensure due process and the proportionality of sanctions.”

“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,” added Imboden in his tweet.

“We try to respect the views of all the athletes; we’ve given them more opportunity to express themselves … We’ve created possibilities before the sport begins to make protests,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams earlier this week.

Imboden previously demonstrated at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, when he took the knee while the national anthem played, later tweeting that he felt that the “shortcomings” of the United States — racism, the need for gun control, the mistreatment of immigrants, and “a President who spreads hate” — dimmed the pride he felt winning gold and bronze medals as a member of the US team.

Imboden is one of several athletes who have made demonstrations at Tokyo 2020. US hammer thrower Gwen Berry raised a clenched fist as she was introduced into the stadium on Tuesday, later explaining she was protesting social and racial justice.

US shot-putter Raven Saunders was the first athlete to protest, crossing her arms into an X-shape while on the podium after she won silver at the women’s shot put on Sunday.

However, the IOC said on Wednesday its investigation into Saunders’ action is “fully suspended for the time being,” after the news of her mother’s death overnight.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Sana Noor Haq contributed to this report.

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