There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the Olympics in Sochi this year, and I know I’m not the first to talk about them. I probably won’t do so as eloquently, but I figured I’d put my own thoughts down now for my own record, even if no one else reads it.
My friends are pretty divided right now. Some are boycotting the Olympics completely. Others, only the sponsors. Some not at all. I’m on the fence with a lot of things. I absolutely hate what’s happening in Russia to LGBT citizens. I hate what’s happening to the stray animals. But I can’t help but feel pride and admiration for all the athletes – especially those who are out as LGBT – who are going anyway to compete in the games.
I understand why some people are avoiding the Olympics completely. And I respect that. Part of me wants to. But the other part of me thinks of the LGBT athletes who have worked so hard to compete, and I want to support them. Even though the conditions there seem to be pretty terrible now, what with the unfinished hotels and lack of running water, part of me would want to be there in person supporting these athletes regardless of what country they came from.
And I’d probably be one of the people arrested and deported for saying something about LGBT rights and speaking up if I saw something negative.
During the Summer and Winter Olympics, I typically support the USA with a few random favorites scattered in other countries. For the Summer Olympics, my favorite sport is Tennis and I cheer for Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer all the way. Neither are American.
This year I’ve got my eyes on all of the openly LGBT athletes. I don’t care what country you come from. I don’t care what sport you’re competing in. I want them to know I’m here cheering for them, hoping for the best and hoping they take home a medal, because they have worked just as hard as anyone else to be there. And they DESERVE to be there. There may not be many who are out (in fact, from what I’ve seen online, only six are openly gay), but you can be sure there are many more who are, even if they aren’t out.
I am disappointed that New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup didn’t qualify, because I would have loved to have supported him as an openly gay athlete. But he didn’t, so instead I’ll focus on those who are:
Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis
Dutch snowboarder Cheryl Maas
Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff
Dutch speed skater Irene Wüst
Dutch short track speed skater Sanne van Kerkhof
and Slovenian cross country skier Barbara Jezeršek.
Seems like it’s only the ladies who are out right now. Hopefully some men will join them as well. You can read more about them here. And if you know of any more, please, let me know. I’d love to support them.
And while we wait for the Olympics to begin, please, enjoy this lovely ad from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion.