By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com February 25 2014 7:00 AM ET
The Hug Heard Round the World
Just after winning her first of five medals at the Sochi games, bisexual speed skater Ireen Wüst got a hug from Russian president Vladimir Putin. Many, including Queer Nation, voiced displeasure with the skater's interaction with Putin at the games. “By embracing Vladimir Putin, a man who has trampled on the human rights of LGBT Russians, political dissidents, artists, undocumented immigrants, and others in Russia, Wust has endorsed his fascist agenda,” the organization said in a statement.
Jeremy Abbott Got Back Up
The U.S. champion in men's figure skating had a tough time in Sochi. First he fell right at the top of the team performance, and then he took a hard crash during the men's short program, right in the same spot. Except this time, the impact of the crash was cringe-inducing. Abbott fell while attempting a quadruple toe loop. And even as he was clearly struck with pain at first, the cheers of the crowd got him back up, and he skated the rest of the short program with pure glee. He finished the competition in 15th place, but Abbott later said he was proud of his performance overall.
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz's pioneering medal
Austrian ski jumper Daniela Iraschko-Stolz was the only other openly gay Olympian to win a medal at the games, and she did it in the first-ever ski jumping event for women. “I’m so excited the sport is in the Olympic Games now, and we have really, really competition, and everyone can see women can do really good ski jump,” Iraschko-Stolz told the The New York Times. She later said she was treated fairly while in Sochi, but thought the Russian city was a poor choice for the games.
Canadians Get It
The Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion made a cute play on the visually sexual nature of luge. The video, cheekily stating that the games have always been a little gay, got millions of hits while shedding light on the injustices done to LGBT Russians. Unfortunately, American luge competitors did not think the ad was so clever. American Olympian Christian Niccum thought it was a cheap joke around his sport. “They’re making fun of our sport for their cause and it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me,” Niccum told reporters. “If I were to go hug my dad and someone took a picture and showed it in really slow motion, they could use it in a video like that and that’s just ridiculous. It’s my dad. Can’t we show affection to each other without it being some sort of sexual contact? This is sports. It’s the same thing. Why does it have to be like that?”
Perhaps it's a bit uncouth to marvel at the deprivation of some of the living conditions in other countries. But it's pretty shocking that some housing providers in Sochi could not get it together for the Olympic games.
Acts of protest
As expected, the women of Pussy Riot staged a demonstration around Sochi, which ended with them being violently attacked by Russian Cossacks. Video of the beating went viral, just before the punk band released a music video titled, "Putin Will Teach You How To Love The Motherland," while the unidentified Cassock who was involved in beating the artists was supposedly fined.
Days before, former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender woman, was detained for displaying a Russian "Gay Is OK" banner. The IOC later defended the decision, saying that she was "peacefully escorted" from the site and that anyone making a demonstration would have been asked to "make their case somewhere else,” since the games are off limits to political protests.
But these women weren't the only activists in Sochi. According to Queer Nation, at least 60 LGBT activists were arrested before the games.
Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski: Fashionable BFFs
Some of this.
And finally, this.
I rest my case.