Joker’s wild: Saunders dons mask before shot put at Olympics

Jul 29, 2021, 7:14 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2021, 8:04 am

TOKYO (AP) — They call her “The Hulk.” On Friday, she looked more like “The Joker.”

Talk about an intimidating game face.

Shot putter Raven Saunders, aka “The Hulk,” showed up at the Olympics wearing a virus-protection mask that made her look like “The Joker,” from “Batman” fame. She dyed her hair half green and half purple to match the costume, too.

All that superhero/supervillain energy led to a throw of 19.22 meters (a shade over 63 feet), which was good enough for third in the qualifying round and a ticket into Sunday’s final.

“I’m like literally the greatest person,” Saunders cracked. “But during competitions, I don’t like anybody.”

If the Olympics allow it, Saunders promises something even more outlandish for the medals round.

She uses it as an icebreaker of sorts.

“One of my things is like, everyone during the shot put, and I don’t know why, people are always smiling and talking. That’s not really me,” Saunders explained. “This is my way of like, being friendly I guess?”

She wore something similar at the U.S. Olympic trials. That one wasn’t virus proof. This one is. Sometimes, she will wear it when she’s out and about. It’s definitely an attention grabber.

“I get looks. I get lots of looks,” Saunders said. “I don’t know if people were intending it or thinking I was crazy, but I get lots of looks.”

___

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