Podcast: Raven Saunders knows how to make a statement

Posted at 2:54 AM, Aug 07, 2021

Editor's note: You’ll notice that this episode is publishing a little later than normal-and we wanted to share why. Raven Saunders’ mother, Clarissa, passed away this week while attending the Team USA “friends and family” hospitality event as a guest of NBC and the USOPC at Universal Orlando Resorts, which you’ve seen throughout these weeks during our coverage of the Games.

Raven, who won silver in the women’s shot put in Tokyo, is a key voice you’ll hear in this episode and the conversation you’re about to hear was recorded prior to this tragic event.

Raven asked that we share this statement with you:  

"To my fans, family and well-wishers, it's with a heavy heart I wish to thank all of you for the wonderful support through these past 36 hours.

My mother Clarissa Saunders was my rock and guiding light throughout my entire life. Having her was the best blessing God could have ever given me. I'm so grateful that she was able to share this Olympic experience with me and see the fruits of our labors on earth before she was taken home by the almighty. I will forever honor her sacrifices for her family. My mama was a great woman and will forever live through me. My number one guardian angel, I will always and forever love you."

We send our deepest condolences to the Saunders family and friends.

Raven Saunders' mother, Clarissa Saunders, poses with a Tokyo 2020 medal.
Raven Saunders' mother, Clarissa Saunders, poses with a Tokyo 2020 medal.
The Saunders Family

There may be language barriers between athletes in Tokyo, but many Olympians have found other ways to express themselves. Shot putter Raven Saunders shows off her personality through her clothes, masks and hair. She tells host Lauren Shehadi about how she chooses her outfits and explains the "X" motion she did as a part of a demonstration while standing on the podium accepting a silver medal. 

Saunders also shares what she has learned about Japanese culture, the story behind her friendly rivalry with gold medalist Gong Lijiao and the details of her pre-throw routines.

Then, Shehadi speaks with etiquette expert Ben Sparrow, who defines the different motions that are used to show respect in Japan. He adds a list of things that visitors should not do when traveling to Japan and gives helpful hints on how to properly use chopsticks. 

You can listen to this episode of The Podium on Spotifyor below:

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