Meet The LGBT Allies Headed to Sochi

There aren't a ton of out LGBT athletes heading to Sochi (far from it), but many allies have made their displeasure with Russia's antigay laws heard.

BY Michelle Garcia

February 06 2014 9:00 AM ET

Andy Newell, cross-country ski, USA
While Newell stressed that the Olympics should be focused on sports, he did express support for LGBT athletes at the games. “My teammates and I completely support all Olympic competitors, gay or straight," he told FasterSkier.com. "Having been a born and raised Vermonter, I’m also proud of some of the progress the U.S. has made in equal rights over the years.”

 

Shea Weber, hockey, Canada
A supporter of LGBT athletes through his involvement with the You Can Play project, Weber condemned Russia's antigay law along with Team Canada teammate Sidney Crosby. "Obviously, the [NHL Player Association] and myself are trying to support that cause," Weber said. "Like Sidney said, the way we're brought up is different than how the Russians view it. We're going over there to play hockey and obviously that's what we're going to try and focus on."

 

Seth Wescott, snowboarding, USA
Westcott, one of the most successful Olympic snowboarders, said the IOC should not have chosen Sochi to host the games. "The human rights stuff that's going on, there's a potential for it to be an incredibly negatively overshadowed Olympics," he told the Associated Press. He added that he was also offended by the law, as some of his closest friends in snowboarding are lesbians. "They're wonderful human beings, and I think for them to be discriminated against is a crime," he said. "They should be able to be who they are and compete proudly. They represent our country incredibly well and they don't need to be the object of that kind of criticism and negativity."

 

Elana Meyers, bobsledding, USA
When asked about Russia's antigay law, standout bobsledding veteran Elana Meyers urged her own home country to remember it has a long way to go on LGBT rights. "I love this country. I love being a citizen. I believe we are the greatest country in the world. But we do have a lot of problems with [the lack of rights for] our gay and lesbian community and transgender community," Meyers said. "There are a third of the states in this country that don't have laws against discrimination of the gay and transgender athletes, or gay and transgender people in general. There are still states in this country where they can't get married.... I think as a country we really need to focus on where we stand on gay, lesbian and transgender issues, and then whatever Russia decides to do is an afterthought. But we really need to focus on where we stand on those issues."

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