Raven Saunders will focus on mental health after death of her mother Clarissa

·2 min read

Olympic silver medalist Raven Saunders will take a break from social media and focus on her mental health following the death of her mother, Clarissa Saunders.

Raven tweeted she will take some time away after losing her "number one guardian angel."

Clarissa was present at Olympics watch parties in Florida, and was interviewed by a CBS affiliate Friday. Raven called Clarissa "a great woman who will forever live through me."

Raven Saunders takes home silver medal in shot put

Saunders made a name for herself after a strong performance in the shot put at the Tokyo Olympics. Saunders took home a silver medal despite tearing her labrum in her hip weeks prior to the Olympic Trials and tweaking her Achilles in preliminaries. 

Saunders drew more attention to her performance after raising her arms to make an "X" on the podium. Saunders said the "X" represented "the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet." Saunders is Black, queer and has talked openly about her battle with depression.

The International Olympic Committee said it would look into whether Saunders' gesture violated protest rules, but after the news of her mother's death it said it would suspend the inquiry. 

"The IOC obviously extends its condolences to Raven and her family," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Wednesday. "Given these circumstances, the process at the moment is fully suspended."

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which supported Saunder's gesture, thanked the IOC for the pause. 

"We appreciate the empathy shown toward Raven by the IOC during this difficult time," the USOPC said in a statement.

The IOC is also investigating two Chinese cyclists who wore pins depicting former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong on the podium. 

Raven Saunders of Team United States celebrates with her silver medal during the medal ceremony.
Raven Saunders won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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