Johnny Weir | Olympics | Russia | Sochi Olympics

Olympic Skater Johnny Weir On Boycotting The Russian Olympics

Johnny Weir
In short, please don't:

To have a boycott would not only negate the career of some athletes who have only one chance at competing at the Games, but also the over-time shifts an exhausted father takes to make ends meet, or the social acclimatization of a brother who can’t go on spring break because his brother needed another costume, or the mother who works part-time at a job far beneath her, just so she can afford to watch her first born perform for the world. 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.
I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof. I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world.

As Johnny points out, the only time in the past that the Olympics were boycotted were the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow.

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  1. Coorection: The 1984 Olympics was boycotted by 14-former eastern block counties including Russia

    Posted by: John B | Jul 26, 2013 6:43:39 AM

  2. There are times when the good of the majority outweighs the good of individuals and this is one of those cases, the cause of LGBT rights are ultimately the more important issue.

    Posted by: lk | Jul 26, 2013 7:01:35 AM

  3. 100% agree with LK.

    Posted by: Richie | Jul 26, 2013 7:04:40 AM

  4. Not sure i can co-sign on that considering there are grown men entrapping teen boys and torturing and humiliating them to suicide.

    Hmmm...although Weir has a point. The costumes are expensive.

    Posted by: Munro | Jul 26, 2013 7:05:07 AM

  5. I understand Weir’s point, but I’d say human lives are more important than spangled tights.

    Posted by: ichabod | Jul 26, 2013 7:18:16 AM

  6. Absolutely selfish and ridiculous argument from this former closet queen on ice. How dare he defend Russia with his "stance or lack of" argument. This makes my blood boil!

    Posted by: tom | Jul 26, 2013 7:19:36 AM

  7. Didn't the US boycott the games in Germany during WWII?

    Posted by: Jeff in NC | Jul 26, 2013 7:22:14 AM

  8. Miss Thing better "butch it up", if she plans to attend, since just being will get her arrested.

    Posted by: John Normile | Jul 26, 2013 7:25:12 AM

  9. No surprise coming from a self-proclaimed Russophile:

    I wonder if Weir has seen the latest trend out of Russia, as reported a few hours ago here on the blog?

    Posted by: tcw | Jul 26, 2013 7:28:00 AM

  10. Personally, I like the idea of daring Russia to arrest LGBT athletes. Make them cause an international incident. That would bring athletes globally to our cause.

    Posted by: Eric | Jul 26, 2013 7:28:16 AM

  11. The IOC should have thought twice before giving the games to Russia. Where is Weir's concern for Russia's GLBT community? I don't see much.

    Posted by: Adam | Jul 26, 2013 7:36:19 AM

  12. How quickly he forgets the support he's received from the gay community. This is a self-serving endorsement of spangles over substance. People are being killed for the crime of existing as themselves. It's really sad that Weir could be so willfully blind.

    Posted by: chuck | Jul 26, 2013 7:51:26 AM

  13. Look at the pack of sad queens who want LGBT athletes to tuck tail and not go to the games instead of taking a chance on winning and forcing the Russians to look at them.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Jul 26, 2013 8:02:27 AM

  14. I can understand his sentiments but agree that the human rights of many outweigh the interests of a few. And as pointed out by others there was also a boycott (surprise! by the then Soviet Union and eastern bloc countries) of the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Look a little further back to the boycott by African countries of the 1976 Montreal Games.

    Posted by: Donald | Jul 26, 2013 8:17:08 AM

  15. So business as usual, next time why not organizing the Olympic games in Zimbabwe or in North Korea?

    Posted by: lukebrux | Jul 26, 2013 8:21:32 AM

  16. Um, Joey Y, your comment is not only rude and cruel, it's reductive and foolish. Any boycott of the Olympics would be of the entire US Olympic Team, not LGBT Olympians only. An boycott by LGBT athletes only makes NO SENSE AT ALL. The only reason you are commenting is so that you can insult LGBT people on an LGBT blog, which MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL. I know you and people like you have better things you could be doing with your time, and I really wish you'd do them instead. xx P

    Posted by: Patrick | Jul 26, 2013 8:43:39 AM

  17. So you want everyone to jump on board because of Johnny Weir? These people don't owe you a damned thing. Were YOU the one training? Were YOU the one dedicating time to help them reach this point? You didn't do anything for any of them, but now you want to whine about what they "should" do for you.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Jul 26, 2013 8:54:54 AM

  18. Oh and for the record, I am gay in a long term relationship with an activist and was at the DC march years ago. I also don't think I have to agree with every stupid thing as a monolithic block, as I have a mind of my own. Your complaints about the laws in other countries are supposed to trump everything else in these athletes and their families' lives? Selfish.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Jul 26, 2013 8:58:00 AM

  19. What absolute self-serving rubbish! This boycott should happen. In the meantime, boycott Johnny Weir!

    Posted by: JOHN | Jul 26, 2013 9:03:15 AM

  20. 28 African nations boycotted the 1976 Olympics in Montréal to protest the presence of New Zealand, which had broken the sports boycott of apartheid-era South Africa.

    Olympic boycotts are a tradition!

    Maybe if there is no boycott, teams should be incorporating rainbow elements into all their official uniforms.

    Posted by: Ken Monteith | Jul 26, 2013 9:05:18 AM

  21. Gay athletes need to go to the Olympics and SHOW THE F**K OUT. Period. Not a single athlete should drop out. And all of our straight athlete supporters need to go over there and be loud as well. Let the Russian authorities arrest an American athlete and see the absolute ruckus they create in front of a worldwide audience.

    This issue needs to be exposed to everyone and this is the best way to do it. On my end of the pond, there's not much I can do to boycott the games, outside of not attending (which I wasn't going to do in the first place). And me not watching Olympic coverage on NBC does nothing either, not exactly a Neilson family either.

    Posted by: WHATWHAT | Jul 26, 2013 9:19:59 AM

  22. The Montreal Olympics 1976 were boycotted as were the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The U.S. did not boycott the Berlin Olympics in 1936 (anybody ever hear of Jesse Owens?). There were no Olympics held during WWII. The Olympics were held in 1936 and then again in 1948 in London and St. Moritz.

    Posted by: jonathan | Jul 26, 2013 9:21:31 AM

  23. What he is saying, and it would make sense it someone else said it, is that these athletes spend their whole lives training and they get one chance. Lives were ruined in 1980 and really no results were obtained that warranted the boycott. The Russians still invaded Afghanistan and stayed there. Much better to boycott NBC's coverage or stop buying Russian products. Let the athlete's have their moment.

    Best would be if the IOC moved the Olympics last minute. It was done once before, in 1976, when Denver wasn't ready they were moved at the last second to Innsbruck.

    Posted by: jonathan | Jul 26, 2013 9:24:45 AM

  24. The Olympics have been Boycotted many, many times, but only twice by the more powerful nations of the world.
    Several Nations Boycotted Seoul in solidarity with North Korea. Many African Nations Boycotted Montreal because New Zealand teams had played in South Africa.

    I think the UK is the only country that has participated in every single Modern Olympic games.

    That being said, I don't support a Boycott, but would love to see Athletes actively show off their support for LGBT rights. I would rather have people there holding up a mirror to their bigotry than to give them additional cause for resentment

    Posted by: Jack | Jul 26, 2013 9:42:02 AM

  25. By the way, what would happen if Johnny Weir went for a trip to Russia right now with his boyfriend/partner? If they walked down the street holding hands, they would be arrested.

    While I understand his argument - and sympathize to some degree - his right to a medal is trumped by the rights of millions of gay Russians to live freely.

    Posted by: gr8guyca | Jul 26, 2013 9:48:43 AM

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