American Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir last night went on ESPN to talk with Keith Olbermann about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and to explain why he does not support a boycott of the games. Olbermann last night also unleashed an excellent nine-minute explanation-cum-rant on Putin’s war on gays and the Sochi Olympics.
“I am gay, I am celebrated in Russia,” Weir told Olbermann, adding that a boycott by the U.S. of the Olympics would be a slap in the face to all the Olympic athletes who have spent their lives training for them — only to have their dreams of competing go unfulfilled.
Olbermann made the point that a boycott wouldn’t work. “Whether we boycott or not… Russia will still put on the Olympics, they will win all the medals,” Weir agreed. “There’s nothing good that can come from a boycottt.”
“Us showing our excellence and being supporters of my lifestyle, my life, my livelihood, my equality — that’s so important to show the world.” Weir added that the Russian vodka boycott is only going to hurt the workers in the plants, not Putin.
Olbermann claimed that Russia will not enforce Putin’s anti-gay laws during the Olympics — which is not assured, but depends on which Russia official is speaking and when. Some say yes, some say no.
“It was a great interview and Weir came across as articulate and thoughtful, but having heard him on the subject before, I was most struck by his choice of attire — a Russian military uniform (though it could have been from the Soviet era), complete with stripes, an eagle, stars and a bunch of medals, and worn over a white shirt with some kind of brooch,” writes OutSports’ Jim Buzinski:
I was dying for Olbermann to ask him about the uniform — I imagine most viewers were — but that never came up, which was odd since most guests don’t come on wearing a military uniform of another country. Weir has always pushed the limits with his skating uniform, so seeing him decked out was not too surprising.
Weir closed with noting that he’s not considered equal in his home state of New Jersey, so why should he stay away from another country that doesn’t consider him equal?
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.