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Five U.S. Figure Skaters Grilled on Gays and Russia at Olympic Media Summit

Several U.S. Olympic hopeful figure skaters were asked about Russia's anti-gay laws today at the U.S. Olympic Committee media summit in Park City, Utah. Seems as though it's a standard question now, which is good.

WagnerSaid two-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner:

“I have gay family members and I have a lot of friends in the LBGT community, so -– I’m so nervous to be talking about this, it’s that taboo –- I just have such a firm stance on this. I really believe we should all have equal rights. I obviously do not support the legislation in Russia, but at the same time it’s not my place to go into Russia and tell them how to run their country. I’m just an athlete.... I believe that the best way you can show your support for the community is to speak about it. I do think the Olympics are really an opportunity for us as athletes to go in and show what we can do with our sport. During the Olympics I’m going to be focused mostly on the competition and my skating.”

Said bronze medalist Agnes Zawadski: “The Olympics are about all the countries coming together and being as one. My main focus is going to be the Olympics and enjoying the moment, if I make it, and representing the U.S. really well and showing that I’m proud to be an American … I’m not there to make a difference. I’m going to focus on myself and what I have to do to compete well.”

Said three-time U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott, who was criticized in August for comparing Russia's anti-gay laws to interior decorating: "I think there is no right answer.  There is no way to answer this question properly without offending somebody.  That’s why we all feel we are walking on eggshells. . .We have to be cautious about what we say."

Said defending gold medalist Evan Lysacek: "I really prefer to leave it up to [the U.S. Olympic Committee] to comment because I think one voice is the most powerful with political matter like this."

Skater Gracie Gold chimed in: "It's definitely a hot topic that will be addressed."


Gay U.S. Figure Skater Johnny Weir Won't Skate in Sochi Games

Weir

U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir declined to register for the national championships and thus won't qualify for the Sochi Winter Games in Russia, the AP reports:

Though Weir had raised the possibility of competing in Sochi in recent interviews, his decision to sit out the season and likely bring an end to his amateur career is not a surprise. He turned 29 in July, old by elite skating standards, and the sport has only gotten more demanding since the last Olympics...

...Weir also is married and has a budding design career, and would be a natural fit for broadcasting. He's always been delightfully refreshing, on and off the ice, and is one of the few skaters who spoke his mind -- even when he knew it would get him in trouble with judges and federation officials. He could also be counted on for thoughtful answers on a variety of topics, and has been an outspoken and very public critic of Russia's new "anti-gay" law.


US Skater Jeremy Abbott Compares Russia's Anti-Gay Laws to Interior Decorating, Won't Criticize

Like many athletes who may be headed to the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, US figure skater Jeremy Abbott is measuring his words, and says he doesn't want to be "rude" to the host country, Russia, even if he may not agree with its laws.

AbbottSays Abbott to the Denver Post:

"Russia is hosting us," Abbott said. "I'm not going to go into somebody's house and be like, 'Um, the way you decorate is hideous, and you need to completely redo this or I'm never coming back.' It's a little rude, so I don't want to say bad things about a country that's hosting the world, essentially. "Maybe I don't agree with their policies, and maybe I don't agree with some things, but that's for them to sort out. My speaking out just makes me look like an ass."

Abbott adds that he's thankful there isn't a boycott:

"Thank God, being an athlete and having trained so long for this, I would just be crushed if that was taken away," Abbott said. "Pulling athletes out of a competitive event isn't going to solve some country's political disputes. It's only going to affect the athletes, and it's not going to do anything to change their policies or change the country or change the world."

Fellow figure skater Johnny Weir has said he plans to go and be himself:

"Like anyone I'm afraid of being arrested but also I'm not afraid of being arrested... If it takes me getting arrested for people to pay attention and for people to lobby against this law then I'm willing to take it."

Adding, "I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof. I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world."


Bracing Skate Plunge: VIDEO

Norwegian_skate

Many of you will remember this Norwegian nut from a skating video I posted last year.

Well, he's got a new one, and his craziness, nakedness, and drunkenness have not changed.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via buzzfeed)

Dunk

Continue reading "Bracing Skate Plunge: VIDEO" »


Johnny Weir Returns to Competitive Skating with Eye on Olympics

Weirtweet

With an eye on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Johnny Weir announced he would be returning to competitive skating, yesterday, ESPN reports:

Weir"I wanted to do this while I still have the time," the three-time U.S. champion said at a news conference in Manhattan. "I didn't want to be 50 years old and look back and say, 'Oh, those last two years before Sochi and I kind of let them go doing other things."

Weir said he will give up drinking and attending movie premieres for serious practice, mostly at a rink in Hackensack, NJ:

He plans to work hard on his quad, the all-important element in men's skating these days. Not only are all the top men doing quads, but world champion Patrick Chan has two in his free skate.

Weir has tried them in competition but struggled to land them cleanly.

"So I can actually be a real threat and not show up as just kind of a face of figure skating," Weir said of perfecting the four-revolution jump. "I want to show up and be competitive and actually have people take this seriously. This isn't a publicity stunt."

(photo by Andrew Werner)


Listen: Johnny Weir's New Single 'Dirty Love'

Weir

Johnny Weir would obviously prefer you be naughty this Christmas.

Listen to his freshly-dropped single, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Listen: Johnny Weir's New Single 'Dirty Love'" »


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