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

St Petersburg Pride to go ahead despite gay ban law

Russian activists announce they will attempt another St Petersburg gay Pride despite local gay ban law and police harassment
No thumbnail available

Indian Christians unite for LGBTI rights as others demand gay 'sinners' remain against law

Following a rally held by supporters of Section 377, pro-LGBT activists have banded together to make form an alliance in the Indian city of Chennai
No thumbnail available

Being gay is caused by child abuse, says New Zealand politician

Unelected leader of Conservative Party Colin Craig says gay men are ‘likely to have suffered child abuse’
No thumbnail available

Australian country singer Beccy Cole comes out as a lesbian

Thirty-nine-year-old singer says she wants to set an example for her son
No thumbnail available

Plan to open Yale campus in Singapore hits controversy

Yale faculty concerned about civil rights in Singapore, where homosexuality is illegal
No thumbnail available

Malaysian state implements heavier penalties for Muslims found "cross-dressing"

Under the amended Syariah law, any man or woman in Pahang found “cross-dressing” could face a maximum of one year behind bars or be fined up to RM1,000, or both.
No thumbnail available

Gay marriage bill so simple 'could be in Queen’s Speech’

Stonewall calls for equal rights in love this Valentine's Day with draft of gay marriage bill
No thumbnail available

Lady Gaga honored for LGBT advocacy work

The pop singer will be given the award, as well as Russian punk band Pussy Riot and writer Christopher Hitchens, by Yoko Ono.
No thumbnail available

Texas news station tweets out gay porn instead of the traffic report

Looks like a hot wave is coming through followed shortly by a brief shower
No thumbnail available

Robin Williams has a gay dog

Williams’ dog Leonard has a boyfriend and is ‘planning to adopt a Siamese kitten’