Showing posts with label The Olympics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Olympics. Show all posts

February 20, 2018

Adam Rippon Causes The Rainbow Flag to be Shown at The Olympics in SKorea






GANGNEUNG, South Korea—Ian Rodriguez realized not long before the Pyeongchang Games that he would be in Asia with his husband during the Olympics. “Let’s go,” he said. Rodriguez bought tickets, changed his travel plans and went to Amazon to buy something he wanted to pack for his last-minute trip: a gay Pride flag with stars and rainbow stripes. 
Rodriguez, a 35-year-old X-ray technician from Las Vegas, brought that flag to the men’s figure-skating competition on Friday morning here and unfurled it to celebrate after the short program of Adam Rippon, the first American figure skater to compete at the Olympics while openly gay.
It was a remarkable sight: Rippon basking in the crowd’s support after the best skate of his life, even holding his hand to his ear to ask for more noise, as Rodriguez waved a flag representing gay rights in the Olympic arena. 
“He’s someone who represents my country and represents me,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like our community is not represented enough, and I’m proud that he has the balls to come out and be like: I’m gay, and I’m an Olympic athlete, and here I am. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He’s there for our community.” 
As recently as four years ago in Sochi, there were no publicly gay U.S. Olympians. There are now three: Rippon, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and speed-skater Brittany Bowe. Rodriguez came to Pyeongchang to cheer for them specifically. “The fact that we have three athletes in the U.S. who are out and representing the LGBT community was even more of a push,” he said. “Everyone always comes out after they win their medal. And it’s like, well, it would be great if it was during the Olympics.” 
Adam Rippon reacts after competing in the short program.
Adam Rippon reacts after competing in the short program. PHOTO: MLADEN ANTONOV/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Rodriguez isn’t a die-hard Olympics fan. “I don’t have everyone’s names memorized or anything like that,” he said. He barely knew who Rippon was before the Games began. 
It was through following Kenworthy that he learned of the flashy and sassy Rippon—the one who competes in a tight mesh shirt with shorter sleeves for the Olympics, once clarified that his butt was real, recently called himself a “glamazon bitch ready for the runway” and said on Saturday “I’m not a gay icon or America’s gay sweetheart; I’m just America’s sweetheart and I’m just an icon”—and Rodriguez knew he had to be there for what turned out to be a brilliant skate.  Rippon was in seventh place after his short program and finished 10th overall after Saturday’s free skate. “I just want to go out there and show everybody that you can be yourself,” Rippon said afterward. “You can show the world who your personality is. And you can be out there in your competitive field and be like, ‘I’m also going to kick your ass… in a fun and competitive way.’”
Figure-skating fans have long waved countries’ flags at international competitions and homemade banners for particular skaters at local events. But the Pride flag was so new that Rippon—one of three figure skaters competing here while openly gay, an Olympic first—couldn’t help but notice it when he qualified for Team USA at the national championships last month.
“It’s overwhelming,” Rippon told The Wall Street Journal afterward. “It’s something that I’ve never seen before, and it’s something that’s so awesome.” Rodriguez brings his stars-and-rainbow-stripes Pride flag wherever he goes in Pyeongchang. When he posted a photo of himself on Instagram displaying the flag at last week’s Opening Ceremony, he tagged people he thought would be interested, like Kenworthy, Rippon, and Bowe. “I even put RuPaul,” he said.  
Kenworthy himself saw the notification on his Instagram and commented underneath Rodriguez’s post. “Thanks so much!” he wrote with three heart emojis. 
There were once again Pride flags in the crowd for Rippon’s free skate on Saturday. But this time it wasn’t Rodriguez. It was a crew that included Kenworthy and his boyfriend. 
Rippon heard their cheering, spied the flag before his long program and pointed right back at Kenworthy in recognition.
“I’ll be cheering for Gus tomorrow,” Rippon said. 
By Ben Cohen and 
 Louise Radnofsky
The Wall Streett Journal


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February 14, 2018

First Openly Gay Skater to Win The Olympics Gold, 'Eric Redford'






 Canadian figure skater Eric Radford has said he "might explode with pride", after becoming the first openly gay male Winter Olympics champion. 
Radford took gold at the Pyeongchang Games in the team figure skating event, alongside his partner Meagan Duhamel.
The pair performed a beautiful routine set to Adele's Hometown Glory.
US skater Adam Rippon, the first openly gay athlete to reach the US Winter Olympics team, won bronze in the same event at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
He skated to Coldplay's O, and Arrival of the Birds by Cinematic Orchestra.
The team figure skating, which debuted four years ago, sees each nation compete in the men's, women's, pairs', and ice dance disciplines. The team with most points overall takes the gold medal.
They join openly bisexual Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust - her nation's most successful Olympian with 10 medals, including golds from four consecutive Games.
The Canadian skating team pose with their gold medalsAfter his win, Radford, 33, wrote on Twitter: "This is amazing! I literally feel like I might explode with pride."


Image copyrighImage cap

 Gold medalists (L-R) Patrick Chan, Gabrielle Daleman, Kaetlyn Osmond, 
Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Team Canada
Later, he tweeted a smiling picture with Rippon, adding the hashtag "#outandproud".
Fellow Canadian medallist and LGBT advocate Mark Tewksbury, who won a swimming gold in 1992, sent his congratulations. 
"FINALLY in 2018 an openly gay man is on top of the podium," he said. "No more isolation for LGBT sport men!!"
"It's fantastic," said Angela Ruggiero, the head of the International Olympics Committee's Athletes Commission. "[He's] paving the way to send a really positive message globally to say that everyone should be accepted and that everyone should be able to compete at the Olympic Games." 
Decades before Radford and Rippon, gay British skater John Curry won a figure skating gold at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. He had not made his sexuality public, but was outed by a German newspaper shortly afterwards. 
During the 2010 Olympics, Dutch Wust was not happy when her sexuality became an Olympic story. She said in an interview at the time that no one would ask her athletic male counterpart, Dutch medallist Sven Kramer about his relationship, "so why would you ask me"? 
Some on Twitter questioned why it made a difference if Radford was gay or straight. 
"Why does his sexuality matter? He is an athlete that won a medal," one observer wrote.
Another replied: "It matters to people legitimately afraid of losing jobs or getting abused if they are open about being gay. When someone can reach the top of their field without hiding, that gives hope."  

Absolutely incredible to see two proud gay men excelling at what they do best. Keep it up boys! You are amazing role models for our community. ❤️🏳️‍🌈🇨🇦🇺🇸@Rad85E @Adaripp https://twitter.com/rad85e/status/963024289300602881 

January 13, 2018

The Gay Community Will be Well Represented by Gus at Pyeongchang








Gus Kenworthy was terrified about the consequences of coming out as gay in 2015 but the American skier says that his decision prompted a huge outpouring of unexpected support and has allowed him to compete without the weight of the world on his shoulders. 
Kenworthy, an Olympic silver medal winner in the ski slopestyle at Sochi, came out in a cover story for ESPN The Magazine to become the first openly gay action sports athlete.

“I had set myself up for the worst case scenario,” he told Reuters by telephone from his winter base in Colorado. “I thought I was going to be turned against and become this pariah.”

Kenworthy had already told his close family and friends, who were all very supportive. Their support, along with a desire to be an inspiration for other young men and women scared to come out as homosexual, drove Kenworthy to make the decision.

“I knew I would feel so much better because I was being authentic and maybe it would help kids going through the same transition as me,” said Kenworthy.

“I thought it would maybe help other people, either in professional sports or amateur sports or even just in communities where they felt isolated and scared to be themselves.”

Within minutes of the news breaking, Kenworthy’s telephone was blowing up.

“I had so much support coming in and so my phone just couldn’t handle it and I couldn’t handle it either,” he said.

“I was crying and it is quite a weird sensation to set yourself up for one outcome and then get the total opposite.”

Kenworthy says his decision has led to a change in what he calls his “headspace” going into competitions. Instead of compartmentalizing his life he is able to be himself and this has contributed to a greater sense of freedom and confidence.

The change means Kenworthy is more confident than ever heading into the Pyeongchang Winter Games next month.

“I am more open with everyone in my life and I think it just translates into me being able to ski a little bit more freely and not have so much to focus on and worry about,” he added.

LGBT ICON

Despite his achievements on the slopes, Kenworthy is known by many as the ‘gay skier’. Instead of shying away from the tag, Kenworthy has embraced it and hopes to serve as an inspiration for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) around the world.

If, as Kenworthy says, he can be a gay man at the top of the world, an Olympic gold medallist, then it would prove a lot of people wrong.

“Nothing would make me happier,” he said.

”The Olympics is a cool opportunity to represent our country, which is amazing, but I have another community I am competing for and that is the LGBT community.

”There are all these stereotypes and stigmas that people have associated with their mind over time but nothing breaks barriers down more than visibility or representation.

”Having someone at the Olympics, the pinnacle event in sports, competing against the best in the world and being out and proud and gay and getting a medal, it would be amazing.

“There is the pressure that comes with this responsibility and I feel I have a responsibility to the LGBT community now. I want to lead by example and I want to be a positive example and an inspiration for any kids that I can.”

After Kenworthy’s silver medal in Sochi, he went to the White House with the rest of the U.S. Olympic team to meet then President Barack Obama, as per tradition. It was an experience Kenworthy describes as “thrilling”.

However, if he is invited to the White House this time around, Kenworthy said he would politely decline.

“I am very proud to represent the U.S. but I don’t stand by (U.S. President Donald) Trump and his cabinet and their policies,” said Kenworthy.

”I do not want to feign approval for policies that are in place and things that are being pushed at the moment, by going. If I was invited I would decline my spot.”

Editing by Peter Rutherford
Thomson Reuters 

July 28, 2016

Brazil an Anti Gay Country Hosting Gays in Olympics


Olympic silver medalist Gus Kenworthy, who came out as gay shortly after the 2014 Winter Games,
poses with dogs he rescued from Sochi. (Photo: Photo by Robin MacDonald)

 Activists, out Olympians say visibility more important — yet fear far greater — on biggest stage in sports

Gus Kenworthy was ready to tell the world he was gay. The freestyle skier had his coming-out story planned in his head before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
He understood the gravity of the situation. Through weeks of soul-searching he had concluded the stage was perfect. Russia was attracting global attention for introducing legislation that purported to criminalize homosexual activity on the spurious grounds that it corrupted the minds of children. What better place to make a stand?
“Then,” Kenworthy tells USA TODAY Sports. “I ended up not doing it.”
Kenworthy captured the hearts of the Olympic television audience in Sochi, winning a silver medal and then adopting a pair of adorable stray dogs.
After returning home, he soon became the first action sports star to come out as gay. 
 "For me, coming out after the Olympics was right,” he says. “The Olympics are overwhelming as an athlete. You work so hard for four years, heck, your entire life even, to get to that point. That commands all your focus.” 


The rationale is understandable. Why come out and risk creating a distraction? It's a question athletes could be pondering now as they prepare for the Rio Olympic Games, which begin with the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 5.
“There might be 500 or so gay athletes competing in Rio, but almost all of them are closeted,” says Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski. “The biggest lie is that it’s not important to come out.”
Buzinski estimates there will be more than 30 out Olympians competing next month. According to Outsports, there were 23 out athletes at the London Games from more than 10,000 Olympians, and 12 of 10,708 at the 2008 Beijing Games. Buzinski concedes that the pro-LGBT movement has stalled over the past couple of years. Rio provides an opportunity to regain that momentum, he says.
"There hasn’t been a headline-grabbing athlete to come out,” Buzinski says. “That’s why the Olympics are so unique. It’s three weeks where someone from a non-major sport can take center stage. Gus (Kenworthy) … had star power. But he froze. His reason for waiting made sense personally, but he missed a big opportunity.”

Worse than Sochi

In the build-up to Sochi, LGBT issues were a hot topic of discussion, with Russia’s legislation sparking international outrage. President Obama made a statement by including openly gay former athletes in the United States delegation for the Closing Ceremony. 


Yet the conversation has been significantly muted as Rio approaches, primarily because the concern in Brazil is much more complicated. The country has an image as a tolerant, open society and the world’s biggest gay pride parade takes place annually in Sao Paulo. Yet the New York Times recently tabbed the country “the world’s deadliest” place for the LGBT community, citing an average of one LGBT person killed per day, according to Grupo Gay da Bahia, a long-time advocacy group for LGBT rights in Brazil.
“It is hard to be LGBT in Brazil because the threat is constant,” says Dayana Gusmao, an executive for Rio Sem Homofobia (Rio Without Homophobia). “We have had so many cases of fathers beating their gay children to (try to) make them straight. We still have people who want to correct lesbians by raping them. Brazil is not a safe place to be LGBT.”

The Brazilian constitution orders equal treatment for all, regardless of sexuality, but those intentions often fail to translate into reality.
For the LGBT community, the sports world is in a concerning cycle where major events have been awarded to nations with a troubling track record on gay rights. Following Sochi, Russia will also host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Soccer’s biggest event will go to Qatar, a nation where homosexuality is outlawed, in 2022. In the U.S., the 2017 NBA All-Star Game was moved due to North Carolina’s discriminatory House Bill 2.
Just how deeply the Olympic movement should involve itself in such matters is a point of contention. The IOC has struggled to attract elite bids from countries other than those that resemble modern dictatorships.
“If Brazil is the home of the largest percentage of (LGBT) hate crimes, and we have LGBT athletes competing, then this is an Olympic issue. It’s that simple,” says Athlete Ally executive director Hudson Taylor.
Why sponsors won't drop out athletes
As Brazil fights against outdated stereotypes, there is also a steeliness in the resolve of out athletes who accept that the battle for acceptance is not yet won.

The fear that exposure of an athlete’s sexual orientation will supersede a performance becomes intensified at the Olympic level, according to You Can Play executive director Wade Davis, who helps coach closeted athletes on their coming out processes. Davis says visibility is the difference-maker to quell discrimination in locker rooms and in society.
“We’re not talking about just a (skin color) minority here,” he says. “It’s a hidden minority. You have to be out for people to really see you.”
“The more athletes that come out, the better things will get,” adds Mexico women’s soccer player Bianca Sierra, who recently received a homophobic backlash on Twitter after sharing a picture with her girlfriend. “If we as professional athletes are comfortable with who we are, we can inspire others who look up to us to be who they are.”

Fear of losing sponsors is a major reason many athletes choose not to come out, but Buzinski says it’s “an argument that keeps getting thinner and thinner.”
“If Nike or Adidas dropped a gay athlete, can you imagine the backlash? If anything, being gay would increase your marketability,” Buzinski says.
Greg Louganis won Olympic gold medals for the U.S. in 1984 and 1988 and came out in 1994. He recalls a much different era.
 "There were moral clauses where a part of your personal life could be used as a reason to cut sponsorship,” says Louganis, who received a Wheaties box this May in response to an online petition.
Louganis says he believes there was “subtle homophobia” from NBC during the 2008 Beijing Games. The network apologized for its coverage of openly gay diver Matthew Mitcham, who won gold in the 10-meter platform and raced into the stands to embrace his partner at which point NBC’s cameras cut away.
“(NBC) showed stories about everyone else’s families,” Louganis says. “But just eight years ago, a major network was uncomfortable with a gay couple.”
Louganis, a gay rights activist, was involved in the “Open Games” – athletics events organized by LGBT rights groups that coincided with Sochi. A bomb threat halted the opening ceremony. “Visibility comes at a cost,” Louganis says.
While athletes are focused on their dreams of success and their personal challenges, the LGBT community in Rio continues to push for change. A series of protests are planned during the Games, much like during the World Cup.

In true Brazilian style, LGBT protests in Rio look more like parties, such as one attended by USA TODAY Sports this year. Many wore bandages and carried crutches in protest of police violence against LGBT revelers during the Carnaval in February, while samba music, dance and performance art provided a dazzling backdrop.
“The police just do whatever they need to do to shut us up,” protester Tiago Goncalves, 29, said. “They do whatever they want. We need progress.”
Progress is a vital concept in the LGBT movement, with many athletes wrestling between serving the public good and avoiding distractions.
U.S. gymnast Josh Dixon, who did not make the team this year for Rio or four years ago for London, believes an Olympian’s athletic and personal identity are intertwined and called coming out as gay four years ago a “responsibility for the next generation.” 


British racewalker Tom Bosworth, who is well positioned for a medal at Rio, says timing was essential in his coming-out process.
“I had everything in place,” Bosworth says. “I was comfortably out, I was with my partner for five years, all of my friends and family knew. And I never hid it from my teammates. This all made it really easy to go public.”
Those luxuries were the exact obstacles that stood in the way for Kenworthy before the Sochi Games.
“I just wasn’t ready. It was too much all at once. I hadn’t told my family or my best friend so it was so much more daunting to come out to the world,” says Kenworthy. “I think it’s super scary coming out of the closet for anyone whether you’re in a small town, have a religious family or you’re involved in a sport with homophobic language.
“ ‘Responsibility’ is too intense of a word for coming out as an Olympian. You want to do it to help people, sure. But it’s gotta be for you first. And coming out has been the best decision of my life.”

 and , posted on USA TODAY Sports
Rogers reported from Rio De Janeiro.

July 24, 2016

Russian Doping Report Confirms Widespread Doping but…


but Russians will not be blanket banned.         Tomorrow’s news today at Adamfoxie*



Russian athletes have avoided a blanket ban from the Rio Olympics after the International Olympic Committee elected to allow individual sport federations to determine their role in state-sponsored doping.

The 387 members of the Russia team faced the prospect of a ban from the competition next month after a Wada report published details on a “culture” of systematic, state-sponsored doping

The IOC’s decision, revealed on Sunday afternoon, means the individual federations have 12 days to review each athletes’ conduct on a case-by-case basis in a defining moment of president Thomas Bach’s tenure on the committee.  

Richard McLaren on Russian investigation
Calls for a blanket ban had intensified with Olympic skeleton racer and British IOC member Adam Pengilly saying: “The scale, leadership and co-ordination of a system like this is arguably the most heinous crime possible against the Olympic movement.”

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington and hurdler Sally Gunnell are also among the signatories who have endorsed a letter sent by The Times newspaper to the IOC which urged them to ban Russia from Rio.

It follows a report commissioned by Wada and undertaken by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren which reaffirmed allegations that the Russian sports ministry oversaw an expansive doping programme, including the manipulation of urine samples at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

It additionally revealed that doping in 28 summer sports from 2011 to 2015 had also received state sponsorship. Bach said the findings showed a “shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sports and on the Olympic Games” and declared the IOC “will not hesitate to take the toughest sanctions available against any individual or organization implicated.”

Background

The McLaren report's key findings
The Moscow Laboratory operated, for the protection of doped Russian athletes, within a State-dictated failsafe system, described in the report as the Disappearing Positive Methodology.
The Sochi Laboratory operated a unique sample swapping methodology to enable doped Russian athletes to compete at the Games.
The Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athletes' analytical results or sample swapping, with the active participation and assistance of the FSB (the Russian federal security service), CSP, and both Moscow and Sochi Laboratories.
 independent.co.uk

Nation Doping Violators: ioc-will-allow-russians-that-dope-to compete

IOC Will Allow Russians that Dope to Compete. Here are the Doping Violators







Following allegations of a government-sponsored doping program, the International Olympic Committee has decided against a blanket ban on all Russians from the Rio Olympics, but instead will leave decisions on individual athletes' participation with their relevant sports federations. This decision comes after the World Anti-Doping agency and other anti-doping organizations recommended a ban on Russia's entire team.

Include the following visualizations to illustrate results from WADA’s report on doping in sports by country, as well as Russia's Olympic records.



December 9, 2014

Int.Olympic Committee Revises non-discrimination Charter to include Sexual Orientation


STAND ALONE PHOTO. REED SAXON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Gay rights activists in Los Angeles protest the passage of ‘gay propaganda' laws in Sochi, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics earlier this year. 
The International Olympic Committee unanimously approved a revision of its non-discrimination policy Monday to include sexual orientation, a step sparked by Russian lawmakers' passage of laws before the Sochi games that banned "gay propaganda."
The language will also be included in contracts between the IOC and future host cities. The IOC notified prospective bidders for the 2022 winter games of the change to Principle 6 of the Olympic charter, which already barred discrimination based on race, religion, gender and other factors.
Activists said Russia's laws encourage homophobic attacks on Russia's gay population and criticized the IOC and corporate sponsors for not doing more to force Russia to repeal the legislation. More than 50 current and former Olympians - including tennis great Martina Navratilova and gold medal diver Greg Louganis — joined the “Principle Six Campaign” — to protest the laws.
LGBT rights advocates called for the U.S. to boycott the Sochi games in response to Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” legislation.
“This is a pivotal moment for equality in sport,” said Andre Banks, executive director and co-founder of All Out, a gay rights organization
The IOC’s new policy could face a big test in 2022, since gays and lesbians face discrimination and harassment in both finalists, Beijing, China and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The IOC’s anti-gay policy, meanwhile, also places pressure on FIFA. The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia, while the 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar, which has refused to say if gay athletes will even be allowed in the country to participate in the tournament.
In addition to the revision of the non-discrimination policy, the IOC also unanimously approved a reform package that will make bidding for the games less expensive and give hosts greater flexibility to stage the games. The IOC abolished the cap of 28 sports for the Summer Games to move to an "events-based" system that would allow new competitions to come in, while keeping to about 10,500 athletes and 310 medal events.
The reforms - IOC president Thomas Bach's 40-point "Olympic Agenda 2020" - mark the biggest changes in the IOC in decades.
The new bidding process is a response to concerns about the exorbitant costs of hosting the Olympics. The new system allows prospective candidates to discuss their plans in advance with the IOC to tailor games to their own venues and. Cities will be allowed to hold events outside the host city or country, which opens the door to joint bids by cities, neighboring countries or regions.
IOC vice president John Coates said holding events outside the host country would only be considered in "exceptional circumstances." He said the idea would have to be raised in the early phase of bidding and would need approval from the IOC executive board.
"The compactness of the bid is always important," Coates said. "But the compactness of the games has to be weighed up with the cost benefit of being able to use existing venues rather than build new venues."
Host cities will also be allowed to propose the inclusion of one or more additional events for their games, which will allow Tokyo organizers to request that baseball and softball be included in the 2020 Games. Both sports were ropped after the 2008 Beijing Games.
The IOC also abolished the cap of 28 sports for the Summer Games to move to an "events-based" system that would allow new competitions to come in, while keeping to about 10,500 athletes and 310 medal events.
The IOC also agreed to work with international federations to have a greater number of women participate in the games. The IOC hopes to achieve 50 percent female participation in the Olympics and will and encourage mixed-gender team events.
The IOC also approved the launch of a digital network to promote Olympic sports between the games and engage with young viewers.
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