Johnny’s World: The Gaylimpics, Part 5

August 22, 2013 9:32 AM11 comments

jworldThis is my fifth week in a row covering this topic as there is constantly new information to cover and drop an opinion on concerning Russia, its anti-gay propaganda law, and the Olympics.

This week I would like to talk about the most recent events in Russia, the World Track and Field Championships in Moscow, and the inspiring stories to come out of them – as well as my thoughts on the power of the International Olympic Committee.

The International Olympic Committee, or the IOC, is made up by a group of people from all over the world. From the athletes to the coaches and on to the faxers and cubicle workers, all of us sports folk are governed by this non-government super-cloud that dictates what we do, how we do it, and how successful we can be. The International Olympic Committee is not a political party – or it’s not supposed to be – nor is it a group of white-hairs who dictate blindly the ways of world sport. Through the Olympic movement, everyone involved in their success is driven not only by athletic prowess, but also by the thought of a worldwide peacetime and unity.

I heard from several news sources that the IOC was coming under fire for supporting the Russian law in a way that, should a protest be made against the anti-gay law by any athlete, they would be met with harsh punishment and disqualification from the games. This is horrible news but, as an athlete who has spent a lifetime adhering to the rules of the IOC, a strict rule is that we as athletes should not partake in any protests, parades, or fanfare while traveling and competing under the IOC umbrella. We are also required to adhere to the laws of our host country, which seems only fair. You wouldn’t light a cigarette at your friend’s house if he or she is allergic to smoke.

Is it right? Something I’ve learned, in my 29 years of politics and being nice to people I hate just to keep fences mended, is that it’s never right. There will always be someone who doesn’t like your rules or laws. There will always be a positive and a negative to every argument. While in some ways the IOC wants to keep everyone safe, especially their Olympic Games, we are able to opinionate that the idea of support for an archaic law from medieval times as hate to the LGBT community and support of pink gulaging. There is so much money, prestige and politics that go on with the modern Olympic Games that the Olympic Movement that us athletes hold so dear, may be a relic from the past that may only be a faint memory by the 2030 Games.

Last week the World Track and Field Championships were held in Moscow, in fantastic form. Every TV picture I saw on my Russian satellite channels looked incredible, the Luzhniki stadium, the beautiful track and field and the worlds young people, coming together to race, jump and throw things. While all this beauty was happening the world was going crazy for someone to step out of legal bounds. Russian women won the 4 x 400 relay event in fabulous form, and as soon as the team took the medal stand, the athletes embraced. In Russia, like in France, it is customary to kiss your friends, family and teammates on the cheek, in Russia, sometimes four times. A photo was taken of Ksenia Ryzhova and Tatyana Firova kissing and immediately turned into a pro-gay poster when they were just doing what they culturally grew up with. Elena Isinbaeyeva, a glorious Russian sporting hero was giving an interview and misspoke while speaking English, a foreign language, and seemed to support Russia’s anti-gay law and was raked across the coals for it, when in reality she meant that it was not respectful to not adhere to your host nations laws when she was asked about Swedish and American athletes supporting the LGBT community in Moscow. She misspoke and we were all just waiting to publicly assassinate someone for being anti-gay.

More of the world is anti-gay than pro. This is something you accept as you grow into your own personal gayness or feelings towards gayness. While I believe that all men are created equal in all circumstances, the people I have to convince that I’m normal want to know I am in fact, normal. This law has gotten so much attention because it deserves it, it is human rights violations to the core, but while we all try to fight our way through it and attack everything from a pole vaulter, to the Olympic Games to low level Russian government officials, we seem to be morphing into the mindless killing abilities of a Tiger Shark. Complete disregard for what we’re eating so long as we get from point A to point B. I urge you all to continue to think of the Russian LGBT and how we can help them in a positive way to be equal and live without fear. This fight isn’t about the Olympics, it’s not about vodka or a return to communism, this fight is about our friends in Russia, people we share our home with.

For more Johnny’s World columns on this issue, click here: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

  • AB

    Thank you, Johnny. I’m not sure I agree with your assertion that we have to respect the laws of the country we’re in (even unjust laws). Suppose there had been in Olympics in the southern U.S. when racial segregation was legal and a black athlete from another country decided the laws were unfair and he was going to use the white restroom, sit in the front of the bus, etc. Would we tell him to respect the laws because they are the laws, even if he’s doing it in protest, knowing he could be arrested? Jackie Robinson had to submit to the law that when he played in the South and therefore deal with the humiliation of being treated as less-than his teammates. Is that right? (Plus I think the “allergic to smoke” analogy doesn’t work.)

    Well, this is an issue that takes a lot of thought, and I agree with you that people aren’t thinking before acting.

  • Tyler Albertario

    Wow, really turning into Russia’s official spokesfaggot there, huh Johnny?

    • AB

      Your comments are not constructive. How about a little critical thinking?

  • gabi

    Me thinks thou doth protest too much, dear Johnny.

  • IcyHeart

    This is not very well-written, so I am not sure what you are saying. You have spent several weeks getting attention as some sort of gay rights figure, and now you are selling out because you do not want to ruin your (slim) chance to make the team? Is that what’s going on here?
    Why don’t you just stick to instagraming your purses and stop trying be some sort of substantive person.

    • Lady Lisa

      Figure Skating IS a job, it’s hard work (on the best of days!), believe me.

      • IcyHeart

        He’s what? 29? I am offended by a skater who is no longer a real competitor and not in demand enough professionally to make a career of it continuing to milk it for cheesy, low-grade celebrity. Not to mention “training fund” contributions.

        • cyberonion

          Not cheesy. Johnny is much classier than most celebrities in the USA. Hardly any skaters in America receive enough support to make a career of it. Out-of-the-closet gays anywhere very rarely receive corporate endorsements. IcyHeart, have you yourself or the skaters you look up to, ever been able to do a triple axel?

        • cyberonion

          Not cheesy. Johnny is much classier than most celebrities in the USA. Hardly any skaters in America receive enough support to make a career of it. Out-of-the-closet gays anywhere very rarely receive corporate endorsements. IcyHeart, have you yourself ever been able to do a clean triple axel on demand?

          • IcyHeart

            If you consider appearing on whatever celebrity cook-off/fashion police/say yes to the dress that will take you and posing in skimpy outfits classy, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. The point is THAT is his career now that he is no longer a viable competitor (takes a bit more than triple axel in 2013) and very few can make it professionally. He used this crucial issue to get attention for his career as America’s Classiest Celebrity, which appalling, and now he is furiously back-pedaling, which is worse. I may never have been able to do a tripe axel, but at least I have some integrity.

  • cyberonion

    I, speaking for myself, wish to remind the IOC members that gay rights were widely accepted in ancient Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics (where races were run naked, most often). Ancient Greece did not appear to suffer, as it dominated the Mediterranean for hundreds of years in politics, military might, and economics. Even after ancient Greece was eclipsed by ancient Rome, the Romans for hundreds of years sent their sons to be tutored by Greek sophists in speech and debate. Therefore, this anti-gay activity is a more recent phenomenon and not in the spirit and tradition of the original Olympics.

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