Sunday, 4 August 2013

Johnny Weir's Not The Only Sister With An Opinion On Sochi



If you've been living under a rock, you have no idea what's going on in Russia right now. Legislation put into place by the Russian government is creating horrific human rights violations left, right and center - and the next Winter Olympic Games are being held in Sochi, Russia.

When the Olympic Games were held in Nazi Germany just prior to World War II, athletes were forced to perform the Nazi salute and Adolf Hitler used the Games for his own political agenda. The horrors of World War II were unspeakable, cruel and disgusting. What Vladimir Putin and his cronies are doing right now is unspeakable, cruel and disgusting too.

Athletes have been working for years and years for their own shining moments on the Olympic stage. For many, these Games represent the culmination of a lifetime's blood, sweat and tears. I don't think the answer is boycotting the Games necessarily, but I don't think blindly trusting the Russian government to "behave" is acceptable either. This is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of basic human rights. The Olympic Games and their message of peace and the power of the collective human spirit should not be tarnished by this insanity. What Putin is doing - and intends to do - is bigger than "leaving the gays alone at the Olympics". Personally, I think moving the Games is the most reasonable option at this point, and if that's not happening, maybe boycotting could be a last resort. 

The more I think about it, what makes me roll my eyes the most is Johnny Weir's very public opposition to the proposed boycott of the Winter Olympics. In a recent article in the Falls Church News Press, Weir stated “the Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents.” If a country is behaving in a way that is disgusting from a human rights standpoint, we say no to that behavior. With so few people in the skating community truly having the balls to climb out from behind the Christmas presents at their back of their closets, Weir has willingly or unwillingly taken on the role as the face of that "here and queer" gay athlete that people know and love. It concerns me that with so few out role models in the sport, people in the skating community will assume the mentality "we'll he's gay and says not to boycott it, so why should we be upset?" We SHOULD be upset, we should insist the IOC move the Games, and we should consider boycotting the Games as a LAST RESORT if we have to. I applaud World Champion Randy Gardner who is standing up and voicing his opinion on the Twitter: "I'm appalled at the Russia's anti-gay movement. So they lifted it for the Winter Games. Big deal." Big deal is right. Hitler already had his turn using the Olympics as his stage for hate. Allowing Putin to do the same is defeatist, passive and ridiculous. 

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