Queer Nation Denounces Bisexual Olympic Gold Medalist Ireen Wüst for ‘Cuddling’ Putin

Yesterday we reported that Dutch speedskater Ireen Wüst, who is bisexual, won gold at the Sochi Games and afterward "cuddled" with Putin, according to Dutch media reports.

I-wustMembers of the activist group Queer Nation are condemning Wüst.

Via press relase:

“The Olympic athletes have said that they will not make political statements during the Games yet that is exactly what Ireen Wust did,” said Duncan Osborne, a member of Queer Nation. “By embracing Vladimir Putin, a man who has trampled on the human rights of LGBT Russians, political dissidents, artists, undocumented immigrants, and others in Russia, Wust has endorsed his fascist agenda.”

Citing a report from Dutch television network NOS, ABC News reported on February 10 that Wust met Putin at a party in her honor after she won gold in the 3,000 meter event on February 9.

"I got a cuddle from him," said Wust, who has been identified in published reports as an out lesbian, according to ABC News. "He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia and I congratulated him on (Russian speed skater) Olga Graf, of course, for her third place (in the 3,000 meters). He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again. But I cuddled him."

As the Olympics opened in Russia, over 60 activists, including LGBT activists, were arrested in several Russian cities while protesting over a number of issues.

“LGBT Russians and political dissidents are showing us what courage and commitment look like,” said Osborne. “Embracing Vladimir Putin is a betrayal of that courage and commitment. Wust should be ashamed of herself. Every athlete in Sochi should understand that the whole world is watching. We cannot make the athletes show the sort of courage that LGBT Russians display, but we will not be silent and we will not forget if the athletes embrace Putin.”


  1. parkrunner says

    Let’s burn her at the stake! Jeez, she won a gold medal and was caught up in the moment. Don’t have a cow, man.

  2. Eugene says

    “He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia…”

    While I think it’s silly to attack people for hugs, this really could be an opportunity to remind Putin that not everything is OK in Russia.

  3. Perry says

    Didn’t she get the memo that all gays/bis/trans/questioning/etc… people must be activists and must have their lives revolve around their sexuality?

  4. Graphicjack says

    I don’t care if she won gold or was caught up in the moment, if she is GLBT, she couldn’t not be informed of everything that is going on in Russia. She had a chance to make a statement by simply refusing to associate with this thug, and she blew it. Sorry, but she deserves our scorn. Is she hugging any of the 60 people arrested so far for protesting laws that she takes for granted in her country? She can choke on that gold medal as far as I’m concerned.

  5. Developed says

    It’s good that she got to cuddle a man in public, if it was her girlfriend she would have been arrested for propaganda ffs.

  6. SpaceCadet says

    If it were me at that party and Putin wanted to “cuddle” me, I would have at the least refused and stepped away rather than have any physical contact with that monster. I would feel so dirty otherwise.

  7. Albert says

    Watching the Dutch news coverage, it appears that Ireen was caught off guard. She wasn’t expecting Putin to be there. So, I give her pass. If you’re prepared to make a protest, that’s one thing. But how many of us would have cursed out Putin on the fly?

  8. Jonnycakes says

    Hey, it’s just like high school. If you’re a jock, you always get a pass.

    She’s not going to be dragged off the street and beaten to a pulp. She’s gonna go home and make a ton of money and get a parade.

    And besides, she’s just a dumb jock, right?

    Passes for all of them!

    And medals too, everyone gets a participation medal.

    But, what exactly are they getting a medal for participating in?

  9. AKChris says

    Good lord. Overreaction for sure. Does this guy formally speak for Queernation or is he just a member?

  10. Scott says

    Dear Queer Nation:
    1) please learn to examine the syntax of a sentence. “I got A cuddle from him”.
    2) find someone that can speak Dutch, Ik kan Nederlands spreken! Omhelzing and knuffelen and both can be translated as hug, cuddle or embrace.
    3) Understand that the translation can be “I got a hug from him.”
    4) Reassess your “outrage” at Ireen, she just won her third gold medal over 3 Olympics.

  11. Randy says

    Unless Wust corrects the published reports about her “cuddle” (assuming they’re wrong) she’s no better than Coca-Cola: just another suck-up to evil.

  12. TonyJazz says

    Go Queer Nation! Nice to see them support the right side on this issue.

    The Putin Olympics are an embarrassment to the sporting community…

  13. TheSeer says

    I agree with Queer Nation on this. Anyone who cuddles with Putin, gay or straight, deserves scorn.

  14. David says

    @PERRY: “Didn’t she get the memo that all gays/bis/trans/questioning/etc… people must be activists and must have their lives revolve around their sexuality?”

    Now that is a truly STUPID statement.

    In being displeased with Wust there is no demand that he life revolve around her sexuality at all times. What is being asked is that she not at all times put her athletic career ahead of justice for gay Russians.

  15. Cal_13 says

    I am myself pretty much bisexual, but throughout my relatively short life (30), I have already found out that the most judgmental people are not heterosexuals, but gays. We are not gay enough for them, we have no rights and voice in the whole LBGT community (I am quoting like 6 gay people right now, they told me I am “either a liar or a closeted heterosexual”. LOL. Assholes. Pun intended. Not only that denounce us bisexuals *in general*, they also have to make such statements about a girl who just gave Putin a hug. I think it was her way of showing the world that she is not scared of that bullying homophobe – not that she supports him. Everybody who throws stones at her, make sure your hands are clean, too! Are you jealous of her medal?

  16. parkrunner says

    I would have cuddled him, lifted his shirt and kissed his belly. Now, that would be a statement.
    If it makes you all feel superior to bully this girl for her mistake, go for it.
    I just think it adds to an already bad situation.