Gay US figure skater Johnny Weir against ‘a boycott of any kind’ of Sochi Olympics

'We have to show Putin who we are, what we're about'

Gay US figure skater Johnny Weir against ‘a boycott of any kind’ of Sochi Olympics
10 September 2013

Johnny Weir wants to compete in his third Olympics come February and doesn’t want to hear anything about a boycott to protest Russia’s anti-gay laws.

‘I am directly against a boycott of any kind,’ Weir tells ESPN 2’s Keith Olbermann. ‘While many people can sit on their couch at home and say "Oh, we shouldn’t go to Russia because it’s bad …  staying away is something I think is the worst possible thing we can do.’

Although Weir is openly gay, the three-time US national champion in men’s figure skating says he is an athlete first.

‘Before a gay man, before a white man, I am an Olympian,’ says Weir. ‘That’s what I worked for from age 12 and a boycott would negate all of that. It would basically punish all of the non-LGBT athletes that would be on the US Olympic team for Sochi.’

‘Even if we stay away, Russia will still put on an Olympics, they will win all of the medals and it will be even more of a propaganda machine for Russia,’ he adds.

Weir, who wore a Russian military uniform to the interview, plans to perform in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the end of the month – the city where the anti-gay propaganda law originated.

‘I’ve been traveling there for a long time, I married into the Russian culture, I’ve trained with their coaches, I’ve performed there.’ he says.

But he admits to some fears: ‘I could be beat up on the street and no one would protect me because I’m gay. Those things are scary.’

If he makes the US team, Weir says that as a high-profile gay man his presence in Sochi ‘would be to empower the LGBT community of Russia and to make them realize that I am gay. I am celebrated in Russia and I’m here competing and me being gay has nothing to do with what I’m doing on the ice.’

‘What we need to do is be there, to be strong and to be united,’ adds Weir. ‘We have to show (Russian President Vladimir) Putin who we are, what we’re about.’

Weir finished sixth at the 2010 games in Vancouver.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Martina Navratilova tells GSN who will win Wimbledon

Lesbian tennis hero Navratilova also talks about coming out, homophobia in sport, Margaret Court and global LGBT rights
No thumbnail available

Laverne Cox to guest star on Bravo's new series Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce

Show is first scripted series from network best known for Real Housewives franchise
No thumbnail available

21 young men arrested in Nigeria for being in a 'gay cult'

The men, all under the age of 25, were caught with 122 condoms between them
No thumbnail available

New Mexico Governor grants benefits to straight veterans’ spouses then denies them to gay spouses

New Mexico Republican Governor Susana Martinez has signed a law giving the heterosexual spouses of veterans special treatment in applying for occupational licenses and then vetoed a bill which would have given the same-sex spouses of veterans the same treatment
No thumbnail available

Sam Smith thrilled to get five Grammy nominations before even getting out of bed

Openly gay singer will compete for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and more
No thumbnail available

Adidas bans ‘gay’ on customizable trainers online

Following out Olympian Tom Daley's revelation that he will be face of a UK campaign, global sports brand says banning 'gay' on trainers is to protect it from being abused
No thumbnail available

Speed skating Olympic medalist goes from homophobe to being sponsored by a gay bar

Canada's Denny Morrison: 'I've done some not-nice things in my time. I think I've grown a lot more since then'
No thumbnail available

Homo-erotic images comprise Spanish company's 2013 swimwear collection

Spanish clothing brand ES Collection releases images from its latest ad campaign titled 'El Hierro', featuring sea-side portraits of well-built male models
No thumbnail available

Dolly Parton reveals she has a dance record for gay fans

The country legend teased her gay fans by saying she has a dance song called ‘Just A Wee Bit Gay’
No thumbnail available

Good Morning America weather anchor Sam Champion is getting married

Plans to marry partner Rubem Robierb later this year in New York