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Gay Australian Olympian Belle Brockhoff Promises to ‘Rip on Putin’s Ass’ in Sochi Interviews

Belle Brockhoff

Belle Brockhoff, the Australian snowboarding Olympian who came out back in August as a show of solidarity with gay and lesbian athletes, has some choice words planned for Russian president Vladimir Putin and his country’s anti-gay laws, promising to ‘rip on his ass’ during interviews that take place in Sochi. Yahoo Sports reports:

She vows there will be no mincing of words before and after her event and perhaps even during.

"It's the perfect opportunity to send a message," Brockhoff said.

"The Australian Olympic Committee has been really supportive and they want me to be safe. They don't recommend me waving a [rainbow] flag around which I won't do.

"The most I'll do is hold up six fingers to represent Principle Six. Possibly I'll do it on camera here or there, and maybe after the heats of my event."

If you've been following our Olympics coverage, you'll recall Principle Six is the new protest campaign that uses the International Olympic Committee's own charter language to push for LGBT non-discrimination. 

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  1. "...they want me to be safe. They don't recommend me waving a [rainbow] flag around which I won't do." - They don't want you doing something people might understand. Yeah, I'm sure most people will understand what holding up 6 digits means, and that that constitutes 'ripping on Putin'... Sorry Belle but the gesture you promise comes off a little weak in my view.

    Hold up a rainbow something and call them out for their monstrous behaviour and lies; then I'll look up to you.

    Posted by: unfavourablewind | Jan 24, 2014 7:13:59 PM


  2. Hopefully she goes hard in interviews because holding up six fingers is literally pointless.

    Posted by: JMC | Jan 24, 2014 7:25:13 PM


  3. Another agent of the status quo who doesn't want to look like an agent of the status quo, but a hero.

    There are two respectable options: boycott or make a stand.

    I think athletes know this and since they surely are TOO SELFISH to boycott, and TOO SCARED to make a stand, they think these things up themselves or others make these suggestions to them.

    'Oh yeah, hold up 6 fingers and you'll be fine. You can say you stood up for equality and not get criticized for for going and doing nothing, and supporting fascism.' - Don't be too sure, athletes.

    Posted by: toughdecision | Jan 24, 2014 7:59:59 PM


  4. @ JMC She specifically said "The most I'll do is hold up six fingers". So no, she will not be 'going hard' in interviews. As you pointed out, the way she intends to send her message is literally pointless.
    Well, almost. As mentioned above, I suspect the purpose is really a weak attempt at appeasing and trying to not look like a complacent supporter of fascism.

    Posted by: Lisa | Jan 24, 2014 8:25:53 PM


  5. So, you are condemning her based on something that might or might not happen in the future?

    Perhaps this is a reading comprehension issue. This is what I understood: During interviews, she is planning on speaking out against Putin. During events, she most she will be able to do is the "Six" sign because she can't alter the uniform or carry extra things like flags.

    Posted by: alex | Jan 24, 2014 9:05:56 PM


  6. @ Alex Perhaps you are a more fair-minded person than I (or we). Maybe I did misunderstand.

    If you're talking about this "...has some choice words planned for Russian president Vladimir Putin and his country’s anti-gay laws, promising to ‘rip on his ass’ during interviews..." in terms of speaking out against Putin, I hope you're right. I hope she does in a real way and not a covert, only-LGBTs-will-get-it kind of way. Hopefully you're right and I'm (or we are) being unfairly cynical.

    Posted by: Lisa | Jan 24, 2014 9:23:15 PM


  7. Lisa, she said she would rip Putin in interviews - she's saying the six finger thing is the most she'll do as a physical demonstration.

    Posted by: JMC | Jan 25, 2014 12:00:53 AM


  8. Honestly I had already forgotten what Principle 6 is and I've been following all of the controversy and build-up to the Olympics. So I don't know how well flashing 6 fingers is going to resonate.

    Going off on a related tangent, I hope Ellen Degeneres makes some kind of statement of solitary with Russian LGBTers when she hosts the Oscars since that broadcast has an audience of billions worldwide.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Jan 25, 2014 12:21:35 AM


  9. I mean "solidarity".

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Jan 25, 2014 12:22:18 AM


  10. @ JMC & Alex; Belle said "...they want me to be safe." - If they don't want her 'waving a [rainbow] flag around' then they SURELY don't want her BREAKING THE LAW and 'rip on Putin's ass'... I'm sure if she hasn't already been told personally not to speak out under threat of disqualification, she will be.

    Remember, speaking out in support of LGBTs in any way in public is AGAINST THE LAW. Plus IOC people have said athletes will be disqualified if they speak out. You think she'll BURN her chances? Do you remember athletes making excuses about how they shouldn't stand up for LGBTs because they worked REALLY HARD, got up REALLY EARLY, and they spent lot of MONEY on getting to where they are? Nevermind what they're giving tacit approval of...

    I'm not sorry if the words of commenters here left a bad taste in your mouth. Maybe I'm a little long in the tooth to be so naive as to believe these athletes.

    Have you no experience with individuals who posture themselves as 'fierce advocates', making promises to do this or that, and then NEVER HEAR FROM THEM AGAIN?

    I bet Towleroad won't make another post about Belle making good on her promises. If she does please be sure to rub my face in it in the comments in about a month...

    The fact that there's enough ambiguity in her statements to cause speculation should be a red-flag for you.

    Posted by: unfavourablewind | Jan 25, 2014 3:26:40 PM


  11. @Unfavourablewind: Will Belle Brockhoff follow through on her promises? I can't answer that question and neither can you (unless you're a psychic).

    Unlike some people, I refuse to condemn someone for something they might or might not do in the future. Personally, I hate it when someone pre-judges me. I refuse to do that to someone else.

    Look at it this way: If any athlete is going to engage in civil disobedience, it's going to be Belle. She's not afraid to come out, donate her time to a campaign like Principle 6, or use phrases like "rip on his ass" when referring to a person that could imprison her with one phone call once she's on Russian soil.

    Posted by: alex | Jan 25, 2014 9:07:48 PM


  12. Turns out Belle wussed out way quicker than expected. The most she will do is hold up 6 fingers. Wow. Actually - depending on which finger the 6th is, it could be appropriate...

    Nah - the pressure got to her and she chickened out. They don't make lesbians like they used to. :(

    Posted by: john | Feb 4, 2014 9:12:23 PM


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