Olympian Sam Mattis trying to 'build a better world through sport' with 'X' protest

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American Olympian Sam Mattis joined several other athletes at the Tokyo Olympics in a silent protest by writing an “X” inside a circle on his forearm.

Mattis, along with other Olympians like silver medalist Raven Saunders, wrote the “X” which is meant to represent the intersection of injustices oppressed people face. He opened up on his Instagram page Tuesday about what the symbol meant to him.

“There is no one single problem that affects us all more than others, nor do the problems that face us exist in a vacuum,” he wrote. “The X carries different meanings for different people, and allows us each to speak to our own experiences of injustice, or to stand in solidarity with those who have such stories. It is a way of marking that our bodies, health, and well-being as Black people, as women, as transfolks, as those struggling with mental health, as people with disabilities, as athletes being exploited during a pandemic, etc. have been politicized, demeaned, surveilled, been made into sites of contestation in heinous ways, and are at the crosshairs of unethical and inhumane political, economic, and corporate powers.

“And while many of these unethical powers would prefer we stay silent on the biggest stage we have, that is simply not an option. The stated values of the Olympics are to place sport at the service of humankind, and build a better world through sport. That is exactly what we are trying to do.”

The American finished in eighth place in the discus throw with a 63.88 score.

Sweden’s Daniel Stahl and Simon Pettersson finished 1-2 with Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger finishing third.

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