Raven Saunders, a silver medalist in the shot put at the Tokyo Olympics who raised an «X» above her head in protest after receiving her award, has been banned for 18 months for failing to appear for doping tests.

Saunders had made three «whereabouts errors» in a 12-month period ending August 15, the US Anti-Doping Agency announced Wednesday. Saunders will miss this year’s world championships but would still be eligible for the Games. Olympics in Paris next year.

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Raven Saunders of the United States poses with her silver medal in the women’s shot put at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, August 1, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

The 26-year-old joined a growing list of high-profile athletes facing discipline for missing trials, including world champion sprinters Christian Coleman and Salwa Eid Naser, according to The Associated Press. A series of missed tests could lead to bans, but they are not considered proof that an athlete was using a prohibited substance.

Saunders was fourth in the US national meet last year and did not qualify for worlds. He then announced that he would be taking the rest of 2022 off, which happened about a month before his last missed exam. The other two were in January and May.

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Raven Saunders of the United States competes in the women's shot put final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, August 1, 2021, in Tokyo.

Raven Saunders of the United States competes in the women’s shot put final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, August 1, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

During the photo call at her medal ceremony at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Saunders stepped down from the podium, raised her arms above her head and formed an «X» with her wrists.

“It’s the intersection where all the oppressed people meet,” he said when asked what his protest meant.

Saunders, who is openly gay, has often wondered if the Olympics could live up to the diversity mission.

«Being me. Not apologizing,» he said in wide-ranging conversation after his second-place finish. «To show younger people that no matter how many boxes they try to fit you into, you can be yourself and you can accept it. People tried to tell me not to get tattoos and piercings and whatnot. But look at me now, and I’m exploding.»

Raven Saunders of the United States competes in the qualification rounds of the women's shot put at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo.

Raven Saunders of the United States competes in the qualification rounds of the women’s shot put at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

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Saunders received the endorsement of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) after the protest. The International Olympic Committee had relaxed some of its rules regarding protests and political gestures at the Olympics, but still prohibited demonstrations during medal ceremonies. The USOPC said it would not penalize the athletes who demonstrated on the podium.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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