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Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis urges protest of Russian anti-gay laws

Saturday, December 14, 2013

WASHINGTON — Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis on Friday urged American Olympians to dedicate their performances at February’s Winter Games in Sochi to their gay friends and relatives as a means of protest against Russian anti-gay laws.

Louganis

Greg Louganis

Louganis, who is openly gay, reaffirmed his position against a boycott of the Sochi Games at a Capitol Hill briefing of the House LGBT Equality Caucus hosted by U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Human Rights First, an international human rights organization based in New York and Washington, according to USA Today.

Louganis, who won four Olympic gold medals for diving in 1984 and 1988, and who in 1980 was a member of the U.S. Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Games, acknowledged that his position against boycotting the Sochi games has angered some in the LGBT community.

But, he said, he believes a boycott would “hurt the wrong people,” referring to athletes who have dedicated their lives to competing in the Olympics.

Louganis said he thinks athletes should publicly thank gay friends and relatives who have supported them in their road to the Olympics, instead of wearing pride pins or participating in public demonstrations.

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“I don’t see how the IOC can say anything about that, because it’s personal, not political,” Louganis said. “If you have a supportive aunt, uncle, cousin, friend who is gay, you don’t win a gold medal by yourself. There is a team of people behind you. And to recognize those people is a way athletes can show their support of the LGBT community and what’s going on in Russia.”

Later in the day, Louganis told the Washington Blade that he disagreed with gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts and singer Elton John’s decisions to host the Miss Universe 2013 pageant and perform in Russia.

“It just seems like all they’re doing is lending credibility to what’s going on there because they’re not going to be reporting on the crimes and the horrors that are happening there,” he said. “You’re going to be a feather in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s cap.”

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46 more reader comments:

  1. I am with you Greg!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:36pm
  2. <3

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:40pm
  3. love this man..

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:42pm
  4. I’ve been of this view since the beginning – let’s head to Russia and be good examples and more importantly VISIBLE to help out the Russian LGBT community. Let’s change the world!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:44pm
  5. About time athletes started to speak out against the blatant bigotry & oppression that the Russian regime is taking against its own people
    Maybe now the sponsors & government leaders should open there mouths or money more important to them than a person’s human rights & civil rights that are been curtailed by president rasputin & his bigoted Russian regime

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:45pm
  6. Cool guy, don’t understand why the games are being held there at all…

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:45pm
  7. Hey Greg how about a boycott of the games in total. Any athlete that participates in these games support hate period. This is not a political debate but a human rights one. Any product advertised, any media coverage, and any athlete should be boycotted. And don’t give me that whining crap that you’ve been training all your life. I’ve been gay all my life and am tired of living in a world that hates be for the way I was born.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:46pm
  8. More athletes could be speaking out…

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:48pm
  9. Win, then speak out. How sweet would that be? Top of the podium, and then no one can prevent you from stating what a disgrace their laws are?

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 3:53am
  10. i've never seen a mic at a podium

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 1:51pm
  11. yes!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:48pm
  12. BOYCOTT ALL RUSSIAN PRODUCTS!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:54pm
  13. always loved you, Greg…now love you more :)

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:00pm
  14. Love the Grey Hair, Greg, looks Great! And thanks for your support!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:02pm
  15. Russian athletes should be banned from competing because of the human rights violations….that would cook Putin’s sorry ass.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:24pm
  16. FUCK YEAH! THANK YOU, GREG LOUGANIS!!!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:26pm
  17. FINALLY….Thank you Greg Louganis…!!!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:28pm
  18. A good way for the athletes to show support.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 8:38pm
  19. The Athletes shouldn’t show up….! There would be no winner’s nor loser’s it’s a win win situation for the Athletes and a lose situation for Russia.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 9:13pm
  20. I hate Winter Olympics anyway.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 9:56pm
  21. I agree with you Greg because I believe in equal rights for everyone no matter what and no one should be denied those rights and I will continue to support equal rights for everyone

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 10:20pm
  22. Hope people Wake Up In Russia and realize Gay People Are Just Like Themselves..Greg is Right, Boycotting will hurt the wrong people.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 10:26pm
  23. Why not the entire world?! Either way, I’ll support his protest efforts!!

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11:07pm
  24. I am with Putin

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11:16pm
  25. Everyone should! I’m with you Greg.

    Posted on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11:55pm
  26. Since when? He was on Johnny Weir’s side just a few months ago.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 12:20am
  27. LOVE you Mr. Louganis

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 1:31am
  28. Russia is not only promoting anti-gay sentiment;it is practicing human oppression! this is only the beginning, as Putin institutes further laws against other minorities! this isnt just a gay and lesbian issue! it’s a human rights issue!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 2:02am
  29. Everyone on the team should carry or wear a rainbow flag supporting gays!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 2:26am
  30. Yes, now is the time! Protest when the world is watching and we have their attention…

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 3:03am
  31. Why boycott when a gay person can legally turn up and kick arse? And then stand on the podium and be who they are whilst celebrating? That’s much more powerful than any boycott could ever be, and for al their legal big talk they wouldn’t dare do anything to a visible medallist. The whole of the decent world would be on them. Go there and show these moronic lawmakers how outdated they are x

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 3:46am
  32. But the ordinary citizens are the ones being physically and mentally harmed and the as you put it the : "The WHOLE OF THE DECENT WORLD IS WATCHING AND REALLY NOT DOING MUCH OF ANYTHING"!! Miranda, I understand what your suggesting but from what I understand some have died or been tortured already! We need to try and do so much more!!

    Replied on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 9:21am
  33. with you love.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 3:56am
  34. Beat those Bigoted Russians in every Event by a landslide. Put them in there place.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 4:16am
  35. Greg, you are a hero xxx

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 4:22am
  36. With you all the way.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 4:56am
  37. UGE PROTEST!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 4:56am
  38. Boycott is not fair to the athletes at all…no boycott!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 6:38am
  39. Another moron.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 11:20am
  40. Protest While competing..?

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 1:55pm
  41. Go go heroes!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 3:04pm
  42. Go, Greg!

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 4:14pm
  43. Tell that to Thomas Roberts who did NOTHING when he went for the MISS UNIVERSE…except garber a 6 figure check from Trump.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:21pm
  44. No Google: Cristão agride homossexual

    O resultado é surpreendente… Descobri os intolerantes de fato

    A intolerância nos fatos reais são bem diferentes do que falam nos discursos, na mídia em geral.
    Veja no link —> https://www.google.com.br/search?q=cristão+agride+homossexual&oq=cristão+agride+homossexual&aqs=chrome..69i57.13925j0j8&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=122&ie=UTF-8#es_sm=122&espv=210&q=cristão+agride+homossexual&start=0

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=689663894400505&set=a.569814376385458.1073741825.510272975672932&type=1

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:23pm
  45. Tell that to Thomas Roberts who did nothing for gay russian rights….just to pick up a 6 figure check from Trump for Miss Universe.

    Posted on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 7:32pm