Gay at the Games: Olympic Dad Cries 'Bias,' IOC Plays Defense
BY Michelle Garcia
February 18 2014 3:10 PM ET
The father of Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff says he sold his tickets to the Winter Olympics in disgust due to what he says is a lack of respect for his gay daughter.
Bruce Brockhoff sent an open letter to the Australian Olympic Committee with multiple complaints, especially that his daughter did not have access to the same training facilities as other athletes, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. He also said there were funding discrepancies that led to his discontent. He later apologized for the timing of his letter, as it preceded the men's snowboard cross event, and he mentioned the Australian athletes competing in that event in the letter.
Belle Brockhoff finished eighth in the women's snowboard cross event Sunday. She told reporters she had been receiving hateful tweets, but she was taking them in stride.
“I’ve had hate tweets. But it’s good getting different sides of the story, and trying to open your eyes a lot more before you say anything,” she said. “I’ve been called an aggressive something dyke or something, but I thought it was pretty funny. This one guy said, ‘I’m right behind Putin, you should break a leg and get locked in the slammer.’ … The hate is funny.”
IOC Plays Defense
The International Olympic Committee is defending the removal of several LGBT activists from the Olympic village Sunday. Former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria was walking around the village for two hours, shouting "Gay is OK" and "It's OK to be gay" in English and Russian. She was then taken from the scene by four men and driven away in a car with Olympic rings on it.
Luxuria was eventually released in the early hours Monday and was told "she was not allowed to display pro-gay slogans in public."
The IOC later said she was "peacefully escorted" from the site and not detained, according to Buzzfeed.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said anyone making a demonstration would have been asked to "make their case somewhere else,” since the games are off limits to political protests.
The Long Game
Barbara Jezeršek was part of the Slovenian team that came in 11th at the women's cross-country ski relay. The team clocked in at 56:37.0, three minutes behind the gold medal–winning team from Sweden. Finland finished second, and Germany came in third.
Bisexual skater Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands captured her third medal of the Sochi games by winning silver in the women's 1,500-meter speed skating event Sunday. She was joined on the podium by her fellow Dutch skaters Jorien Ter Mors, who won gold with an Olympic record time, and Lotte Van Beek, who won bronze. Dutch skater Marrit Leenstra tok fourth place.
Wüst's next event will be the women's 5,000-meter competition Wednesday, followed by the team pursuit Friday.
Ice Dancing? Not So Gay
If you were watching the ice dancing competition Monday night, you may have been wondering if there was a way for it to be more gay, but it turns out that the sport is quite heteronormative, as a rule. According to Slate, the rules governing ice dancing say, “The composition of a pair must be one Lady and one Man.” Sounds more like the marriage ban in Tennessee and less like Blades of Glory.
Additionally, there are regulations on what men and women can wear on the ice, as well as the fact that certain holds, lifts, and throws have gender-specific roles. And, of course, the judges are suckers for romantic stories.
Remember the American bobsledder who got stuck in the bathroom at Sochi while naked? Yeah, his name is Johnny Quinn, and he wasn't too happy about that.
"Being a bobsled athlete, we're typically bigger athletes, so I had to make a hole big enough to get out of the door," he said.