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Olympic Medalist Shaun White 'Not A Big Fan' Of Russia's Anti-Gay Laws: VIDEO

Shaun White Interview

Two-time Olympic gold medalist snowboarder and video game cover boy Shaun White sat down with Yahoo! News Australia to talk about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. While most of the conversation revolved around his training and his past Olympic experiences, brief mention was made of the controversy of Russia's anti-gay laws. When asked by the interviewer for his thoughts, White said,

It’s a tough scenario. You get these athletes that are just as competitive and they’re living their lives and they’re pouring every single thing into this competition. And just that added pressure of being alienated, I’m just not a big fan of that. It’s not like it’s up to me to change the rules or anything, but I just feel for them on that front.

The support is certainly welcome, though he is wrong about changing the rules. As one of the biggest names in the Winter Olympics, it is absolutely up to him and other Olympic athletes who oppose Russia's laws to do what they can to promote change.

The video of the interview can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. No matter if he's straight or gay, he does look "gay" and might be affected by that law too

    Posted by: litper | Oct 23, 2013 3:04:06 PM

  2. I believe that part of the problem is how this debate is how Russia is successfully framing this debate, even here on Towleroad. The problem is much larger than "anti-gay laws". The much larger problem is the vilification and persecution of Russia's LGBT population. Early in Hitler's Germany, the antisemitic legislation was a major problem, even during the Berlin Olympics of 1936, but as in Putin's Russia, the violence wasn't directly a result of the legislation, but the overall persecution of a minority that was clearly endorsed by the government. We need to reframe this as being much larger than the "anti-gay laws" and a small group of athletes and make it instead about the persecution of over ten million LGBT Russian citizens.

    Posted by: Eric | Oct 23, 2013 3:30:33 PM

  3. I have seen Shaun in the Dew Action Sports Tour (or whatever they're calling it now) and he has certainly turned into a smokin' hottie.

    I agree, this isn't about the laws per se, but it needs to be addressed (and those Americans who are going over to Russia to support these laws should find their visas revoked so they have to live in Russia).

    Posted by: YsoSerious | Oct 23, 2013 4:07:48 PM

  4. As the world’s largest club for LGBT skiers and snowboarders, we applaud Shaun White for standing up for LGBT equality. As he knows, being gay shouldn’t be a factor when you’re talented enough to proudly represent your home country on the world’s greatest athletic stage. It’s inspiring when influential figures like Shaun join other Olympians like Bode Miller to remind the world that LGBT skiers and boarders can shred with the best of ‘em, and we deserve the chance to win Olympic medals and hug our loved ones in the stands without being sent to jail for revealing who we love.

    We’re proud of what Shaun White had to say, and encourage him to add his name to Athlete Ally’s powerful Uphold Principle 6 campaign.

    Posted by: SKI BUMS | Oct 23, 2013 4:08:23 PM

  5. Agreed @YsoSerious, he was an odd looking teen but has definitely matured handsomely. I have nothing to add to the more relevant discourse.

    Posted by: DMP | Oct 23, 2013 4:23:52 PM

  6. Another athlete who doesn't get it.

    These reaction to these hideous laws is NOT about the effect on athletes.

    It is about the human rights abuses being inflicted on millions of gay Russians.

    Does this (and other) athletes support viewers boycotting coverage of the Games and the sponsors of these fascist Games?

    Posted by: MaryM | Oct 23, 2013 4:53:44 PM

  7. That goes for the Ski Bums who commented above as well.

    The safety and security of privileged and protected Sochi athletes is secondary to the human rights abuses being inflicted on millions of gay Russiams.

    You agreed right?

    Posted by: MaryM | Oct 23, 2013 4:55:25 PM

  8. I think he confused the question 'what do you think about the law' with, 'what do you think about a proposed boycott against the law'. he was clearly trying to criticize the law without being misconstrued as calling for a boycott

    Posted by: Mike C. | Oct 23, 2013 9:29:52 PM

  9. Have any of you quit your job and given up all means of support in order to protest this Russian law? Essentially, that's what you are asking of these athletes.

    Not everyone is cut out to be an activist or diplomat. (Try to imagine Ryan Lochte or Johnny Weir making a speech.) Instead of expecting every athlete to suddenly become an expect at international relations, why not put pressure on actual diplomats to do their jobs?

    Where is John Kerry? Where is Amnesty International? Where is Lawrence Probst (USOC)? Or the US members of the IOC? Not to mention Barack Obama and Joe Biden?

    Posted by: alex | Oct 23, 2013 10:38:03 PM

  10. Excusssse me, 'Alex';

    Without these 'Star Athletes' bringing in the crowds, the Olympics in hell-spawned Sochi have got NOTHING.

    Mr White, being a major sponsor and crowd draw at any olympics, should be leading the boycott, not coming up with excuses!

    Failing that, Mr. White should be leading the charge to move the olympics if he isn't satisfied with the Boycott Option.

    We remember very few people of the Berlin Olympics who were Pro-Germany. And those we do are not remembered for their heroism.

    Mr. White would do well to remember that.

    Posted by: Jason | Oct 24, 2013 11:57:28 AM

  11. Great post Ski Bums, Athlete Ally's Principle 6 campaign is gaining more support every day! Shaun is a great athlete who has worked his ass off while significantly raising the bar in the Boarder competition world. Seems amazing he's suddenly one of the 'older dudes' - and in all fairness, the context of the question in the interview didn't allow much from for him to answer with any depth. He most likely 'gets it' a great deal more than some seem to think, while he's focused on his next gold medal - which is a great deal more than a full time job.

    At the same time, I want to see the Russian Orthodox Church and the Legislators, and of course, dear darling Putin - under constant pressure each and everyday. Fortunately, there are many ways to do that, in spite of what some believe is only one way, 'their' way. Everything counts, everyone counts.

    Posted by: RexT | Oct 24, 2013 2:57:42 PM

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