Norwegian snowboarder Stale Sandbech posted this chummy photo to his Instagram yesterday, writing:
"Heavy brodown with the bro's! @markmcmorris @sagekotsenburg"
McMorris is a Canadian snowboarder and Kotsenburg is the U.S. snowboarder who won the first gold medal in Snowboard Slopestyle this week.
Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a U.S. snowboarder who missed the cut for Team USA, came out of the closet in an interview on Friday, ADN reports:
The 24-year-old told the ESPN news program "Outside the Lines" that she is gay, a revelation she said she wanted to make during the Sochi Olympics, where gay rights have become an issue because of Russia's anit-gay laws.
"I realized coming out publicly isn't just about yourself but it's also about realizing the greater scope of what's going on and becoming a voice against something," Chythlook-Sifsof said. "It's important to come out and take a stand and show the world that it's not OK to be a bigot."
Added Callan: "It's almost a blessing that the Olympics are happening in Russia and these issues are coming out. It gives the world a chance to view it and it gives athletes a chance to voice their opinions about it and to show every country in the world that this is not OK."
Belle Brockhoff, the Australian snowboarding Olympian who came out back in August as a show of solidarity with gay and lesbian athletes, is now throwing her support behind 'Principle Six' - the new line of protest merchandise that uses the IOC's own charter language to push for LGBT non-discrimination. The Courier-Mail reports:
"Ill wear what I have to wear for the team because I am representing Australia but apart from that I'll definitely be wearing P6 stuff.
"It's kind of a way of protesting but not really. It's directed towards te IOC, it's not directed to the Russian government so if athletes want to wear it around the Games they will be quite safe doing so.
"It's simple, it's powerful and I think it will change a lot of things after the Games."
Brockhoff joins numerous U.S. athletes who have also committed to working with the campaign, including runner Nick Symmonds and tennis star Andy Roddick. It remains unclear, however, if the IOC will take any action against athletes wearing this form of protest merchandise.
Check out Brockhoff and other athletes who came out in 2013 in our year-end wrap-up, I'm Gay: The 53 Most Powerful Coming Outs of 2013.
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...
U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Seth Wescott, who hopes to qualify for the Sochi Games, blasted the Olympic Committee for its handling of Russia and its anti-gay laws, the AP reports:
Wescott on Wednesday criticized the International Olympic Committee for selecting Sochi to host the 2014 Games, saying the city hadn't proven it had the ability to hold the event. The new Russian law that prohibits the promotion of "nontraditional" sexual relations could further sully the completion, he said.
"The human rights stuff that's going on, there's a potential for it to be an incredibly negatively-overshadowed Olympics," he told The Associated Press.
Wescott also says he is friends with snowboarders who are gay:
"They're wonderful human beings, and I think for them to be discriminated against is a crime," he said. "They should be able to be who they are and compete proudly. They represent our country incredibly well and they don't need to be the object of that kind of criticism and negativity."