American Olympian Sam Mattis Protests in a Unique Way During the Games

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games behind us, many people are reflecting on some of what they saw during the games. One thing that caught the eye of many people was the X that was written inside of a circle on American Olympian Sam Mattis’ forearm. According to him, it was a silent protest, but he wasn’t the only one who took a stand during the games.

Sam Mattis Protested Silently During the Tokyo Games

Sam Mattis, American Olympian, competing at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
American Olympian Sam Mattis Protests in a Unique Way During the Games

Not only did Sam Mattis silently protest during the Olympic games, but he wasn’t the only one who did. Silver medalist Raven Saunders also had the same X on her body which is something that represents the intersection of injustices that oppressed people face.

With many people talking about what the X meant, Mattis finally opened up about what it meant to him when he posted on his Instagram page. He stated that there is no single problem that affects us all more than it does others and the problems that we face don’t exist in a vacuum.

He continued to state the letter carries many different meanings for different people and it also allows for each person to speak about their own experiences of injustice or to just stand in solidarity with those who have stories.

Silver medalist, Raven Saunders, cross arms in an 'X' as a silent protest.
American Olympian Sam Mattis Protests in a Unique Way During the Games

Sam Mattis added that the letter is a way of marking our bodies, health, and well-being as Black people, transfolks, women, a person who has struggled with mental health, disabilities, as an athlete that has been exploited during the pandemic, etc. people that have been demeaned, politicized, surveilled, are at the crosshairs of inhumane and unethical corporate, economic, or political powers.

Building a Better World Through Sport

As Sam Mattis described what the X meant to him, he also included that many of the unethical powers prefer that the people affected stay silent on the biggest stage they have – in this case, the Olympic stage – that’s not an option. He concluded by stating that the Olympic Games are a place where people could build a better world through sport and that’s what they’re aiming to do.