Thursday, October 03, 2013

Blog # 4. U.S. Olympians address Rusia anti-gay law in advance of 2014 Sochi Games.

The Washington Post

In the mountains of Park City, Utah many U.S. winter Olympians met to talk about their medal aspirations and also were asked their opinion about the Russian law that bans "the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."

Bode Miller, a five-time Olympic medalist, said that the law is "an embarrassment." He also believes that the decision of the IOC regarding the athletes' expressing political views during the Olympic competition is "hypocritical and unfair."

Agnes Zawadzki, a two-time and defending U.S. bronze medalist in figure skating, preferred to refer to the recent U.S. Olympic Committee statement indicating disapproval of the law. She also said that she wants to focus in doing well at the Olympics, avoiding this controversial topic.

Ashley Wagner, two-time U.S. figure skating champion, said that she felt nervous discussing the issue. She doesn't agree with the Russian's law and believes that "we all should have equal rights, and  acknowledged that she can't tell the Russians how to run their country.

The law President Putin signed in June penalizes heavily those who promote homosexuality to anyone under age 18. Human rights activists have called for a boycott and athletes, coaches, relatives and supporters are confused if a "gay-pride march, a rainbow flag or a reasoned debate overheard of anyone under 18 could be a statement that violate the law."

Steve Holcomb, a U.S. bobsledder noted that he doesn't agree with a boycott, because it would only serve Russia's interests.


As the debate about the Russian anti-gay law continues, several American athletes have expressed concern about this topic. Most of them disagree with this law, claiming that it violates human rights; on the other hand, a few have been cautious in not criticizing the law and prefer to focus on preparing for the event.

I believe that it will be challenging for the athletes to focus on their preparation to compete at the Olympic Games, under all the media attention that the anti-gay law has caused. As public figures, our athletes are now facing additional pressure in taking a position on this matter, and their views could add to the controversial and political context in which these games will be organized.

Rosa Flores
8:32 PM

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