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Gay Olympian Matthew Mitcham: Russian Persecution 'Horrific'

Mitcham

Olympian champion diver Matthew Mitcham has weighed in on the controversy over gay athletes and the Sochi 2014 Games. the Daily Telegraph reports:

"It's really sad. The way they are persecuting people in Russia is quite horrific...The Olympics is the best experience you will ever have as an athlete. Their whole memory and experience is going to be marred by this stuff. They are going to be made to feel unacceptable, inappropriate, and it is a really awful, awful feeling. The Olympics are supposed to be somewhere where they can go to be relieved of that feeling. A place where you can compete and feel that gender and sexuality is not an issue."

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Comments

  1. What a stupid statement. There is homphobia everywhere in the world, in every country where the Olympics have been held. the Olympics has never been any more devoid of homophobia than any other international event.

    After all, NBC refused to air Mitcham's own kiss of his partner after winning his medal in Beijing, didn't it?

    Was that not a form of anti-gay censorship on the part of an American network that is run by supposed "liberals"? And did it not "mar" his experience?

    Does he imagine that if he had kissed his partner in public even in Australia that it would not have been an issue with many people and that it would not have elicited very negative reactions?

    You cannot sanitize the Olympics any more than you can sanitize the world at large...

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 3, 2013 11:57:41 AM


  2. I've no doubt you would have censored him kissing his boyfriend too "Rick" cause that's just so "effeminate."

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Aug 3, 2013 1:04:15 PM


  3. A better statement would have focused less on the athletes, who are choosing to go and can easily leave, and focused more on the 4 million to 14 million LGBT Russian citizens that have to LIVE there.

    Posted by: Eric | Aug 3, 2013 1:31:21 PM


  4. Rick hates one thing: equality. Which is why he hates empowered women, "liberals," and all things involving LGBT equality. The fact that he's so quick to defend the Russians and their barbaric laws proves he's just a spineless republican troll.

    Posted by: MateoM | Aug 3, 2013 2:01:05 PM


  5. "...the Olympics has never been any more devoid of homophobia than any other international event."

    Not every Olympic locale has had the same degree of homophobia, racism and sexism as every other Olympic city or international event, Rick.
    The number of people celebrating at tomorrow's Vancouver gay pride is expected to be very close to the entire population of the city. A gay Olympian competing there in 2010 would have been in a city where he has freedom and equal rights and would have been welcomed by a Pride House in both Vancouver and Whistler.
    By contrast, an Olympic diver going to the FIFA diving chanpionships that same year would have been in a city where a woman can be arrested for "immorality" if she reports being raped, a person can be arrested for supporting equal rights for gay people or proseletizing Christianity, and the government not only jails but kills people.
    There is no comparison with how safe one can feel speaking openly in Vancouver or Stockholm or London vs. Dubai or Teheran or Sochi.

    And as for NBC (which, like every big American network, has too many stodgy conservatives making decisions and has never even claimed to be "run by liberals"), whatever they do or don't censor, they are a FOREIGN network to Mitcham and to Olympic venues such as Vancouver, Sydney, London, Beijing and Sochi. Australian TV interviewed Mitcham WITH his mother and his boyfriend and I doubt Canada's CTV would hesitate for a moment to broadcast a congratulatory kiss between an Olympian and his boyfriend.

    Posted by: GregV | Aug 3, 2013 2:38:19 PM


  6. If you are gay and live in Russia, the LEAVE. If you you are gay and do not live in Russia, then never GO there. It's a simple solution. Let Russia be and let it destroy itself from the inside out.

    Posted by: Stephen | Aug 3, 2013 3:42:08 PM


  7. OK "Rick", you have said something below ANYONE but you. You have been rebuked by other members. Is it not time for you to change your name like the troll that you are and say something nice about poor misunderstood "Rick"?

    Posted by: Mike | Aug 3, 2013 5:22:44 PM


  8. All Olympians should be encouraged to speak out against persecution of gays in Russia as Matthew Mitchum has done here. In addition, they should be encouraged, as Mike Janyk and Mercedes Nicoll have done in Vancouver, Canada, by participating in Gay Pride there, to publicly and openly show their support for the gay community.

    Posted by: RonCharles | Aug 3, 2013 5:56:23 PM


  9. Rick seems to be one of those 'internet' people who believe they know everything about someone simple because they've read one paragraph, on one issue, that the person has been quoted on.

    Sometimes when I feel my life is a bit tragic, I cheer myself up with some thought "At least I'm not Rick".

    Posted by: Andrew | Aug 3, 2013 6:19:09 PM


  10. Rick seems to be one of those 'internet' people who believe they know everything about someone simple because they've read one paragraph, on one issue, that the person has been quoted on.

    Sometimes when I feel my life is a bit tragic, I cheer myself up with some thought "At least I'm not Rick".

    Posted by: Andrew | Aug 3, 2013 6:19:09 PM


  11. It should be noted that the 2015 FINA world championships (swimming, diving, waterpolo, sync swimming, etc) is scheduled to be hosted by Kazan, Russia. Work needs to start NOW to get those games moved.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 3, 2013 6:52:42 PM


  12. @STEPHEN - gay Russians should Leave? Have you seen the videos of the kids getting tortured? They are exactly that - kids. Where do you expect them to go? Moving to another country (legally) isn't as easy as just packing up a bag and moving. Especially if you're under 18.

    Posted by: Craig | Aug 3, 2013 6:59:13 PM


  13. Russia isn't destroying itself over this situation. The athletes should focus on their performance. The only aspect they might feel uneasy about is performing in front of so many heterosexuals. If you are so bent out of shape about gay Russians, why not get a contingent together and go over there. I suggest Lance Black be part of it. He's made a career out of his sexuality.

    Posted by: Jake | Aug 3, 2013 11:44:07 PM


  14. American Gays brought the oppression and violence to Russian teens. Putin would go the opposite way of The United States on this issue. Obama came out so strongly for gays. So all the pushy demands for our "rights" are being felt as torture on the backs of Russian gays. A lesson from the former gay lifestyle might have prevented this. But, that was not the case. And in hind site nothing was really going to stop the avalanche of self entitlement.

    Posted by: Garth | Aug 4, 2013 12:18:19 AM


  15. IDK how deep Matthew has looked into the topic. If you followed the events in Russia lately I would fear that the anti-gay propaganda law might get enforced after all. And did anyone try to find out what is defined as propaganda? I guess you did not. Amnesty International tried coming to the conclusion that "There is no legal definition in the Russian law of what constitutes ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ and the law could be interpreted very loosely."
    Even speaking up against that law can be ruled by the law and that should make one nervous.
    And it does not stay there: When you think about fines for overstepping a law most people think about getting a ticket. In Russia in means arrestment and the documented police violence and then you get to pay the equivalent of tens of thousands of US dollars.

    And to the Ricks and Jakes and Garths: Do you have any idea what you are talking about?
    Rick: Comparing states and tv stations; discriminating laws and censorship? Of course you can break down the US into liberals and republicans/conservatives but the rest of the world does not work that way.

    Jake: You make no sense after your first two sentences (by the way I oppose your second statement: they should worry to not get arrested for being openly gay and on tv at the same time). Do you have a personal issue with DLB?

    Garth: Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat are you trying to sell here? "A lesson from the former gay lifestyle might have prevented this." So if all American LGBT people had miserable opposite sex marriages and psychologically tortured their children to do the same no matter if their were straight or not; that would keep Putin from promoting a law that does forbid to speak up against the violence against Rissian gay teens?
    Overall I think you're on the wrong page here.

    Did I miss something? The IOC says athletes should obey the Russian law... I still don't know how to do so.

    Posted by: Michael | Aug 4, 2013 6:43:13 AM


  16. The term "wrong page" is nauseating. American gay overkill has influenced the Russian treatment of gays. Putin will be contrary to the United States to demonstrate our differences regarding same sex. Sadly, gays are pawns in the reawakening Cold War.

    Posted by: Garth | Aug 4, 2013 2:51:15 PM


  17. The term "wrong page" is nauseating. American gay overkill has influenced the Russian treatment of gays. Putin will be contrary to the United States to demonstrate our differences regarding same sex. Sadly, gays are pawns in the reawakening Cold War.

    Posted by: Garth | Aug 4, 2013 2:51:15 PM


  18. I feel bad for Russian GLBT people who are now under so much scrutiny, would you really want to live a day in their lives ?

    Could you survive it ?

    Also, I guess some of you weren't around back when our media depicted us in a consistently horrific and tragic manner, which set so many of us up for despair, suicide, addiction, and self destruction. It really wasn't that long ago that we were exploited that way, and arguably, we are STILL being exploited and subjugated here by the media...

    Posted by: Toddy Out West | Aug 4, 2013 6:47:55 PM


  19. The question I would like to see answered is "Why are Totalitarian Countries even considered for the Games?

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Aug 4, 2013 8:27:19 PM


  20. It has already cast a pall over the Games, and they haven't even started. Oh, and Garth, that troll suit does not fit you well. Try again, troll Garth.

    Posted by: millerbeach | Aug 5, 2013 4:35:00 AM


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