U.S. Figure Skater Says Speaking Out Against Russia's Antigay Law Would Be 'Rude'

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com August 27 2013 8:10 PM ET

U.S. figure skater Jeremy Abbott won’t be voicing disapproval of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law while competing at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. In fact, he thinks to do so would be “a little rude,” according to The Denver Post.

Several of America’s top figure skaters arrived at the World Arena last week for “Champ Camp,” where Abbott, a three-time U.S. National Champion, was asked about his feelings competing in a country where LGBT people are being denied basic human rights.

“Russia is hosting us,” Abbott told the Post. “I'm not going to go into somebody's house and be like, ‘Um, the way you decorate is hideous, and you need to completely redo this or I'm never coming back.’ It's a little rude, so I don't want to say bad things about a country that's hosting the world, essentially.”

“Maybe I don't agree with their policies, and maybe I don't agree with some things, but that's for them to sort out,” he added. “My speaking out just makes me look like an ass.”

Abbott also said he was thankful the United States had no plans to boycott the 2014 Olympics and “would just be crushed” if his chance to compete for gold at the games in Sochi would have been taken away after “having trained so long” for the opportunity.

“Pulling athletes out of a competitive event isn't going to solve some country's political disputes,” he said. “It's only going to affect the athletes, and it's not going to do anything to change their policies or change the country or change the world.”

Despite the fact that Russia’s antigay legislation is in direct violation of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits discrimination, the International Olympic Committee has stated that any athlete who does not conform with the county’s law while at the Winter Games in Sochi could face “disqualification or withdrawal of the accreditation of the person concerned.”