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.


  1. says

    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.

  2. Munro says

    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.

  3. tom says

    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!

  4. Eric says

    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.

  5. Adam says

    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.

  6. chuck says

    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.

  7. Joey Y says

    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.

  8. Donald says

    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.

  9. Patrick says

    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

  10. Joey Y says

    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.

  11. Joey Y says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. WHATWHAT says

    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.

  14. jonathan says

    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.

  15. jonathan says

    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.

  16. Jack says

    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

  17. gr8guyca says

    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.

  18. jonathan says

    @Jack: I thought it was the year before. I stand corrected. At this point they should hold them all over the world where ever a venue is ready. I don’t think they should go forward in Sochi. My husband pointed out the China was guilty of human rights violations as well. The difference is they didn’t double down and played extra nice during the games.

  19. ripper says

    “Didn’t the US boycott the games in Germany during WWII?”

    Jesus H. Christ. Did you people sleep through high school?

    The U.S. attended the 1936 games in Berlin, and African-American track star Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals much to the dismay of Hitler, who witnessed the 100-m dash… It is the most enduring moment of the Berlin Games.

    This is exactly what LGBT athletes should do at the Sochi Olympics.

  20. says

    Weir can go to the Olympics and be reasonably sure of being safe. Then he can leave Russia and so on. Meanwhile, every other lesbian and gay person who actually lives in Russia is in danger.

    At least Weir is staying true to character- an unpleasant, selfish attention-seeking brat.

  21. says

    I get it, he is a coward. Any idiot could see the writing on this wall. Johnny is the gayest out player that will be at the Olympics. He has always been the most viable as a figurehead for this. It’s understandable to be afraid, he didn’t ask for this at all.

    That said, get a damn grip Johnny. This is your chance to matter, don’t throw that away for something as boring as safety.

  22. Jason Jehosephat says

    In brief, voluntary sacrifices that athletes and their families make–let’s be frank–in pursuit of their own glory are of greater concern to Johnny Weir than raw oppression of millions of people.

  23. bobbyjoe says

    Going to Russia and thinking just your presence is going to make some difference is nonsense. I’m getting sick of this canard. Madonna’s presence, for instance, didn’t free Pussy Riot and it sure as hell didn’t help the Russian GLBT, as things are getting worse and worse, to a violent extreme. Madonna tried, but ultimately its futile. Putin must have his ego and his money dragged through the dirt on a tremendous scale; dribs and drabs don’t cut it. Boycott, boycott, boycott. It’s going to take a major global action by the US and Europe to make any difference whatsoever.

  24. Brad says

    Are you seriously suggesting the needs and desires of a few athletes is more important than making a stand against the crewlty, torture and suffering of innocent people?! You should be ashamed of yourself!!! This about something MUCH bigger than the careers of a few athletes, this is about trying to help people suffering at the hands of their own people.

  25. jomicur says

    So, we should be silent about Russia’s anti-gay jihad so a few kids get to hang some jewelry around their necks? Fancy-ass skating is more important than human right? Yeah, sure, Johnny. Now just sit in the corner, cry and suck your thumb, okay?

  26. mike moore says

    I feel sorry for the athletes if a boycott happens, but i agree with Harvey Fierstein: some things are bigger and more important than a medal hanging around one’s neck.

  27. aj says

    I am sorry but “First World” issues do not compare in the least to the problems faced by our Brothers and Sisters in the ‘Third World’!! The Boycott MUST go On!

  28. Ryan says

    I don’t think the Olympians should boycott — indeed, I think they should go draped in rainbow flags and dare the Russian authorities to arrest them.

    However, NBC should seriously consider a boycott of at least part of the games, as well as other actions to highlight — in primetime and with full seriousness, holding back nothing — everything going on there. People should also consider boycotting watching it or boycotting any sponsors of it, etc.

  29. kaccompany says

    Which would make more of a statement… our absence… or our being there and everytime an American medals, draping themselves in a rainbow flag as the American flag is raised above them?

  30. anon says

    Various countries have boycotted almost each and every Olympic games. Classic examples include North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, etc. And, Olympic athletes should know these things.

    Weir’s coach and press agent are Russian, so that’s probably why this statement was put out.

  31. Hampton says

    Everyone has the right to disagree. The Olympics are not supposed to be about political statements but about the athletes.
    What of the athletes who have trained for years and this may be their only chance at showing the world the best they can be. The activist are all about being PC..They Russians don’t care if you boycott or not. The games are still going on. Putin who wants to be dictator for life with the support of the Orthodox church does not care if you boycott Stoli or Borscht or a trip to St. Petersburg. As far as Miss Weir she is much beloved in Russia even by Putin and I doubt the secret police (they’re back) would arrest her. When you visit a country you try to abide by their customs such as not wearing short shorts in a mosque in Dubai or a see thru dress on tour at the Vatican. And not all gay people want to walk down the streets holding hands and smooching..Russia is no worse than Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, or Utah.

  32. Randy says

    Johnny, get over yourself.

    Your career is not worth a crowbar in anyone’s ass. Your career is not worth the luring of gay teens for torture and humiliation. Your career is not worth anti-gay mob violence.

  33. Vint says

    Nothing would prevent previous Olympians from returning their medals to the IOC in protest of Russian actions. Along the lines of Eagle Scouts returning their awards to the BSA…

  34. Chris says

    I’ll be boycotting the Olympics… And all things Russian. // to not do so – is just condoning Putin/Russia at the least, or worse, actually profiting from the hate/violence our LGBT people in Russia are experiencing from their own government. …

  35. Robert Seth Vorisek says

    Unfortunately Mr Johnny Weir comes to this argument with a very prejudiced eye. He is MOST definitely pro-Russia. If he were to leave the Olympic village, he’d be dead in less than a few minutes. I love the Olympics. I support the Olympians. My people come from one of the former Russian Baltic States. BUT…he has lost the focus of what is happening here, including the newest trend by Russian skin-head in luring young LGBT youths into an environment of torture, humiliation and death. To boycott the Olympics is an enormous financial statement. And at this time, I believe it is the ONLY statement that will get through to the pocketbooks of the Russian people and their dictator/Stalin stand-in, V Putin.

  36. reality says

    If anyone has ever seen his show, they’d Johnny is obsessed with Russia. He is in a thick fog and trying to pretend this stuff isn’t happening.

  37. Hephaestion says

    I would like to read an interview with Weir that gives his insights into the lives of gays in Russia today. And what is he doing to fight for gays there.

  38. Hypocrites says

    Amazing how you all want people to give up on their life long dream. How many of you would boycott your jobs if you found out the VP of your company did not favor gay marriage? How many of you would sell your homes if you found out your mortgage company didn’t believe in gay marriage? It’s easy for you to sit here behind a computer screen and bash this man for wanting athletes to compete. But how many of you would have the balls to do the same? And speaking of rights. What about the rights of the homeless in this country? There are millions, yet I hear none of you compassionate souls making a pleas for them? He’s not selfish, you are the selfish ones for asking these athletes who’ve trained their entire lives to “quit”. Shame on all of you.

  39. epic says

    why would you bother correcting “Led by the United States, 65 countries boycotted the games because of the Soviet war in Afghanistan,”…it happened

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