Greg Louganis Offers Alternative To Boycott

    December 14, 2013
    Toni Matthews-El
    Comments are off for this post.

The Olympics is an event meant to bring the world together in a spirit of sportsmanship and mutual respect. Sometimes the choice of host city can clash strongly with this purpose. When Sochi, Russia was chosen for the 2014 Olympics, this lead to a great deal of protest. Russia is seen as a place of “social stigma and state discrimination” with regard to visible minorities and immigrants. Russia’s homophobic laws and treatment of gays are also a source of major contention.

Many are calling for a boycott of the games. Joachim Gauck, president of Germany, is rumored to be doing just that.

Amid the controversy, there is one unlikely source speaking up against calls for a boycott: Former Olympian Greg Louganis.

He is speaking out from experience, having missed out on the 1980 Olympics due to a boycott.

Louganis was sorry to have never have been given the chance to compete during that time period. He thinks that a boycott by athletes and audiences would hurt the competitors more so than Russia.

The Olympics typically happen every four years, providing a narrow window of time for an athlete to train and compete at their peak. Few elite athletes make it to three or more competitions. A boycott means a major opportunity will be lost that will never return. Louganis is not defending Russian policies; he is instead thinking of the sacrifice and disappointment of the athletes involved.

Despite his intentions, Louganis’ decision to speak out against boycotting the Sochi Olympics has earned him some negative press and even hate mail.

“I was told, ‘How can I call myself a gay man?’ Or that I was a horrible homosexual. I had one really graphic and hateful one and actually reached out to him and we became friends.”

Louganis’ alternative to an out-and-out boycott is to have Olympians thank gay friends and family members whenever they win.

“I don’t see how the [International Olympic Committee] can say anything about that, because it’s personal, not political. 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.”

Image: Greg Louganis Twitter

  • Skip Smith

    I totally support Mr. Louganis’ point of view. I remember when he medalled in the Olympics. I agree, boycott isn’t fair to the competing athletes. For the competitors to dedicate their performances visibly to the honor of the gay community is the best way to tell Russia “in your face”.

  • Baron

    Totally DISAGREE. While I think the world of Louganis, have his book, and my kids dove at Ft. Lauderdale with the team for awhile, I do NOT approve of this. The Olympics are about SPORT; at least they used to be. It is not nor should it be about lifestyle choices. Moreover, it is not our place to impose our will on the world. When will we ever learn? Lastly, what about just standing on the podium, listening to the anthem, smiling, and shutting the hell up?
    Glad Louganis is happy with his life, but stop making everything about gays and pushing attitudes onto other people, especially when we are there as guests.

    • ssdddddd fffsldkjaklfjkl

      We want to hit Russia, yet no one says a word about Australia which just banned all gay marriages. I dont think the olympics is a place to take up the issue. Hell most US states still have laws on the books discriminating against homosexuals

  • Kenya Blowmie

    Greg LooseAnus can suck my d!ck

    • Trav

      GROW UP, coward!

    • Trav

      I’d rather be the biggest f*cking sissy-boy in the world, than a f*cking INTERNET COWARD “Kenya Blowmie”!

  • Fred Oldfarkle

    What Greg needs to understand, they are talking about a Boycott…not a Boycock.

  • Dan

    You should be proud to be gay and show up waving your Rainbow flag!

  • johnny do nothing

    Greg likes him some little boys

  • david

    if any athlete does anything to protest the Russian gay policy (speak out against it/wave a “rainbow” flag etc etc)-they should be stripped of any medal they win and immediately expelled from the Olympics–the same way Tommie Smith and John Carlos were kicked out of the Summer games in Mexico City in 1968 for their “black power” salutes

    • Free Mind

      That was a different struggle so lets not compare those men to this gay agenda. The struggle Blacks have is one against creation from all groups whether straight or gay.

      The struggle gays have is one against their own creation,therefore their issue is with The Creator.

  • Sherry Heim

    I think we should compete and totally kick butt, that would be the best revenge. What are they going to do, eliminate figure skating all together to keep gay athletes out? Mr. Louganis is right, for many athletes, this may be their only chance at competition, something they have spent their lifetime training for. That type of training comes at a very high price, let us not deny the athletes because of Russia’s narrow minded viewpoint.

  • Todd

    Picture this you are somewhere anywhere – you are arrested and convicted for a (any) non hurtful behavior or comment towards or about yourself or your loved ones or someone you simply support. In this you have zero recourse. You are guilty of breaking the law and are duly, swiftly, and soundly defeated of escaping prison. This is not remotely close to moving to a state in the U.S. which does not honor or at least accept gay marriage or a country that does and then revokes it. This is prison. Think hard about comparisons before admitting by thought and verbiage that you cannot understand the enormity of laws that can remove you from a life in society to a life in prison based on a mere blink or nod or word of support. Understand the world you live in, do not make it up on whimsey – as you go along. Because it is a bumbling fool who stumbles directly into a quagmire and consequently brings harm to many in so doing.

  • Free Mind

    Putin made it against the law to promote homosexuality and I have no issue with that because it is a perversion no matter how nice many gays are.

    Homosexuals just need to grasp that people have a choice in all things they do. They choose to live the gay lifestyle and many people choose to not support that lifestyle.You can’t force your beliefs on other people because people will “believe as they want to believe.

    I don’t feel that all athletes should forsake their dreams based on an agenda that many don’t support.

  • Dennis

    Louganis is a great swimmer. He’s gay. My brother is a brilliant heart surgeon. He has colostomy. My brother doesn’t wear a speedo on the beach but keeps his dysfunction private. Why? He has integrity and knows it’s HIS problem and no one else’s!

  • Todd

    “Free Mind” where on earth are gay people incarcerating anyone for not allowing them to be gay? Now that would certainly be gays forcing their beliefs. Get out of your illogical thought due to your beliefs, which you have the right to believe. Force is force. It is that simple to understand. You are blinded to who is forcing whom due to these beliefs you certainly have every right to. Putin and Russian law is so berift of any sensibility to human rights that the mere assumption by those enforcing laws against homosexuality can be determined by as little as someone is “acting gay”. Assumptions lead to legally enforcing, (forcibly), life in prison. Could it be any more clear who is forcing whom? Does describing one’s self as gay or behaving in ways that are gay constitute forcing you personally in some manner? How would you like a world that views you as a pervert for saying you are heterosexual or for “acting” heterosexual? Would you consider your words or behavior as forcing others or would your imprisonment be forcing something? Obviously you cannot be forced to believe in gay rights but certainly gays can be forced to go to prison in, for example, Russia. In some places it commonly equals death to be gay. I hazard to guess that you do not feel threateneted that a gay person is going to kill you or imprison you. So why blind yourself to the very real threats to those who are homosexual due to your beliefs against it? Beliefs carry too much weight in your perceptions otherwise you would be fighting for the safety of fellow human beings and not holding to your beliefs over the right for others to live without personal threat.

  • Paul Sel

    Greg Lubeyouranus should urge his fellow qeer athletes to go and participate and just leave your qeer agenda at home.