#ChampionEquality: Meet the LGBT Allies Competing in Sochi

By: Michelle Garcia
2.8.2014

There aren't a ton of out LGBT athletes competing in Sochi (far from it), but many allies have made their displeasure with Russia's antigay laws heard. See our #ChampionEquality list below for the ones to watch.

Bode Miller, skiing, USA
Miller is one of the best skiers to represent the United States in the Olympics, and he said in October that Russia's law is "embarrassing," "hypocritical, and unfair." He added, "I think it is absolutely embarrassing there are countries and people who are that intolerant or that ignorant," according to the Chicago Tribune. "It’s not the first time. We have been dealing with human rights issues since there were humans. My main emotion when I hear and deal with situations like that is embarrassment. As a human being, I think it is embarrassing."

 

Shaun White, snowboarding, USA
The snowboarding star told Yahoo! News Australia that he felt sympathetic for LGBT athletes who might not feel safe being out during the games. “It's a tough scenario," he said. "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."

 

Ashley Wagner, figure skating, USA
While most in the figure skating world have stayed quiet about the law in Russia, Ashley Wagner says she feels uncomfortable not talking about it. "It's an issue I feel so strongly about just because my life is really surrounded by the LGBT community," Wagner said. "I've talked to so many athletes who agree with what I've said and who think it's a horrible thing for the LGBT community in Russia."

 

Chris Grover, cross-country skiing, USA
Grover, the team leader for U.S. Skiing, says that the LGBT propaganda ban has been a major topic of conversation among skiers this year. “We are encouraging the athletes to express themselves concerning these recent events as their conscience dictates," he told FasterSkier.com. "As an organization and a team, we do not tolerate discrimination in any form and we value diversity.”

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