Peter Vidmar, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics and devout Mormon, stepped down Friday as the chief of mission for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in the wake of growing criticism of his public opposition to gay marriage.
Vidmar, 49, was appointed last week as the liaison between the U.S. team and the International Olympic Committee, but almost immediately came under fire for his anti-gay positions.
Prominent gay U.S. Olympian figure skater Johnny Weir, called it “disgraceful” to have a person with Vidmar’s views in a position, chief of mission, that makes him the symbolic head of a United States Olympic team.
“It’s wrong,” Weir said. “I certainly wouldn’t want to be represented by someone who is anti gay marriage. It isn’t just about marriage, it is being allowed equal rights as Americans.”
Vidmar, who won 2 gold medals and 1 silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, participated in two demonstrations and donated $2,000 for the successful 2008 Proposition 8 ballot initiative in California that overturned the California Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.
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