CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A rally for hometown athlete Raven Saunders was held Friday morning in the Burke High School gymnasium as the two-time Olympic athlete took center field in the qualifying rounds.
Raven’s mother and sister were joined by friends, family, and members of the community to celebrate how far she’s come and to cheer her as she advances in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Burke High School graduate qualified for her second Olympic Games back in June after finishing second during the U.S. Olympic Trials. She threw a record and personal best of 19.96 meters – which is just over 65 feet.
Her mother, Clarissa Saunders, said this moment fills her heart with joy.
“I just love it,” she said. “Last Olympics, I really saw the amount of support that she had … one guy came up and had an article in his wallet that he keeps about her.”
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, SC State Representative Wendell Gilliard, and Councilman Rev. Dr. Kylon Middleton stopped by to cheer her on during Friday’s watch party.
“We’re so proud of Raven and her accomplishments. We’re right here at Burke High where she graduated. She represents this city, you saw when she did that qualifying shot put- she said ‘Charleston, South Carolina’ so she’s proud of us, we’re proud of her,” said Mayor Tecklenburg.
“I think she’s our shining light and she’s already a winner. I want everybody to understand that this lady here is the hope for all of our young people,” said Rep. Gilliard.
“I mean she is a shining example of specifically when you work hard, you overcome your odds, you become resilient and look at where God can really take you,” Rev. Middleton said.
Supporters showed up wearing green as they cheered on the Hulk. She is set to compete Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.
The City of Charleston will hold a finals watch party Saturday at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center on Fishburne Street at 8:00 p.m.