Boycotts | Greg Louganis | News | Olympics | Sochi Olympics

Olympic Champion Greg Louganis Calls for Protest of Russia's Anti-gay Laws

At a Capitol Hill briefing today, Olympic champion diver Greg Louganis again expressed anger at Russia's anti-gay regime, calling on Olympians to protest the heinous law by dedicating their performances at the Sochi Games to their LGBT friends and relatives. USA Today reports:

Greg LouganisLouganis said as he understands the law, Olympic athletes in Sochi could potentially be in trouble for wearing rainbow pins in support of the LGBT movement. That, he said, is why he thinks athletes should publicly thank gay friends and relatives who have supported them in their road to the Olympics

"I don't see how the IOC can say anything about that, because it's personal, not political," Louganis said. "If you have a supportive aunt, uncle, cousin, friend who is gay, you don't win a gold medal by yourself. There is a team of people behind you. And to recognize those people is a way athletes can show their support of the LGBT community and what's going on in Russia."

Louganis, however, remains opposed to a boycott of the Games themselves, saying that it would hurt the wrong people - the athletes. He says he has received harsh criticism from fans for that position.

"I got hate mail," he said. "I was told, 'How can I call myself a gay man?' Or that I was a horrible homosexual. I had one really graphic and hateful one and actually reached out to him and we became friends. I was able to express why. I come from the perspective of an athlete."

"I commended the guy who was critical of me. All I'm trying to do is incite action. That's all he's trying to do. We're all on the same side. If you say boycott, that's how you address the issue. I am saying no boycott, but maybe there is another way."

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  1. I feel bad for the athletes caught up in all this - but - there needs to be a clear position made from now on. Only fair and welcoming countries should host the Olympics from now on. Not brutal, inhuman regimes. F*uck that.
    Won't be watching. Whatever companies blatantly peddles their goods during the Olympics won't ever have me as a customer again...and I will never watch that network again, CBS/NBC? w/e it is.

    Posted by: Mam | Dec 13, 2013 8:07:38 PM

  2. I don't fault any of the athletes for wanting to go and I don't think a boycott (by athletes) would help at all. But this is a dignified and classy suggestion Mr. Louganis is making here. Let's see how many athletes follow his lead.

    Posted by: MrRoboto | Dec 13, 2013 8:52:10 PM

  3. Every progressive nation should have a gay team member lead their contingent in the walk around the stadium at the opening ceremony.

    Posted by: woody | Dec 13, 2013 8:56:12 PM

  4. I'm pissed - not just because of Russia's stupid fear, but because of the IOC's lack of vocal rebuttal. Remember the Olymics in Nazi Germany? We went anyway. And Jesse Owens, a black man, won the gold. And pissed Hitler off.

    But this is 2013. We're still abiding by those same rules of "no controversy?" Awful. I thank God for Greg Louganis. The more athletes that speak out the better. And many have. The more WE speak out the better. But I think it's stupid not to watch the Olympics and support those who support us.

    Posted by: trg | Dec 13, 2013 8:59:56 PM

  5. am I the only one who sees no connection to what is going on in Russia and this boring sporting event?

    Everyone can gay out all they want and it wont have any effect at all. Once the event is over, the gays in Russian will still have the same issues.

    Posted by: Homo Genius | Dec 13, 2013 9:19:29 PM

  6. @Homo Genius: Exactly. A boycott punishes athletes for something that is completely out of their control.

    Even if Johnny Weir was the secret Russian collaborator that some claim, he still wouldn't have the power to call Putin and get the law changed.

    Posted by: alex | Dec 13, 2013 10:09:45 PM

  7. I don't feel bad for the athletes at all. The Olympic games are not that important and there are many other competitions that can and will elevate their athletic careers. Boycott ALL THINGS Russia and India. Buy NOTHING from either country. Refuse to support any company that use Russian or Indian citizens to handle IT and computer assistance. Demand that your County and State officials divest any funds invested in Russia or India. Do NOT travel to Russia or India. If you are gay and living in Russia or India then get out of those countries. Seek asylum in a country that supports and or offers equal protections. If we can't do this the plight of the gay person will never change.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Dec 13, 2013 10:32:20 PM

  8. @MIKE RYAN:

    "If you are gay and living in Russia or India then get out of those countries. Seek asylum in a country that supports and or offers equal protections."

    But what if they can't afford to travel? Who's going to help them?

    Posted by: SVK | Dec 13, 2013 11:50:45 PM

  9. I really resent the idea that athletes are somehow special, without responsibility. Oh gosh, I'm so sorry! You're an ATHLETE so therefore don't have the usual responsibilities of a citizen or, you know, a human being.

    So their only responsibility is to their training and to themselves? Nice to know. God forbid that anything get in the way of that.

    Posted by: Caliban | Dec 14, 2013 8:35:29 AM

  10. "The Olympic games are not that important"

    LOL. You've never seen the inside of a gym, have you?

    Posted by: crispy | Dec 14, 2013 8:57:45 AM

  11. Russian Sitcom Star Says Gay People Should Be Burned Alive -- "Russian actor/ex-Orthodox priest Ivan Okhlobystin, who's famous for playing an ill-mannered recovering alcoholic on the medical sitcom Interny (a show sometimes described as "the Russian Scrubs"), has an interesting take on gay rights. He isn't for them. In fact, he'd rather be done with the whole concept of gay people all together.

    "I would put all the gays alive into an oven," Okhlobystin told cheering fans in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. "This is Sodom and Gomorrah! As a religious person, I cannot be indifferent about it because it is a real threat to my children!"

    Ya, I think it's time to boycott Russia

    Read more:

    Posted by: Gigi | Dec 14, 2013 9:39:14 AM

  12. "...Remember the Olymics in Nazi Germany? We went anyway. And Jesse Owens, a black man, won the gold. And pissed Hitler off...

    ....And Hitler then killed 21 to 20 Million People ANYWAY!..."

    There. FTFY.

    Countries should refuse to go.

    'Sending a Message' at the Olympics DID NOT save one single Jewish (et al) Life.

    Posted by: q | Dec 14, 2013 9:54:44 AM

  13. "...Remember the Olymics in Nazi Germany? We went anyway. And Jesse Owens, a black man, won the gold. And pissed Hitler off...

    ....And Hitler then killed 21 to 20 Million People ANYWAY!..."

    Which still would have happened had we boycotted the Berlin Games.


    Posted by: crispy | Dec 14, 2013 11:23:43 AM

  14. Will someone please email these comments to Johnny Weir? Greg is showing great integrity with his efforts to fulfill his moral obligation to protect his brothers and sisters in Russia. Greg! Call Johnny!

    Meanwhile, Johnny is crying on his twitter feed about being 'bullied' for his 'selfish' attitude towards russian gays, and blatant denial of the law's reality wi his infamous description of it as 'no anal sex in front of libraries.'

    Would it be fair to say Johnny is gay....but not a member of the LGBT community?

    Posted by: CryingPrincessJohnny | Dec 14, 2013 12:06:35 PM

  15. @Caliban "I really resent the idea that athletes are somehow special, without responsibility."

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

    Since athletes don't have the power to change Russian law, the only benefit of an athlete boycotting would be publicity. As a private citizen who quits his/her job to protest, I'm sure you could get publicity, too.

    After all, according to you, there should be no special treatment. When will you do what you're asking of others?

    Posted by: alex | Dec 14, 2013 6:30:03 PM

  16. I'm watching the Olympics because I enjoy the games and support the athletes. NBC didn't legislate an anti-gay law and neither did the athletes. The network and the athletes have a large platform to make a statement and reach an audience of hundreds of millions and I think they will. It may not change the law in Russia but it will let thousands if not millions of LGBT Russians know that they are not alone in this struggle and being gay is not a bad thing.

    And the poster who keeps spouting that the Olympics and its athletes is a lunatic and only speaks for himself.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Dec 14, 2013 8:58:28 PM

  17. Correction: the poster that keeps spouting that the Olympics and its athletes are not that important is a lunatic.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Dec 14, 2013 9:00:08 PM

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