The weapon of the new Cold War: gay athletes

When Russia enacted new measures against homosexuals, the United States responded with a weapon far more powerful than the usual tools of the Cold War: Olympic athletes who are gay as part of this country’s official delegation.

Tennis great Billie Jean King, figure skater Brian Boitano and hockey player Caitlin Cahow were included in the delegation. It was meant to send a loud message and, apparently, it’s gotten under the skin of the the International Olympic Committee.

“It’s absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have (been established),” Mario Pescante said at an Italian Olympic Committee meeting in Milan on Wednesday.”The games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports supports daily.”

If only sports actually did, sir.

“We’ve seen boycotts, concerns over Aborigine rights in Australia, the Tibet issue in China. It’s enough already,” Pescante told the Associated Press. “There are always going to be issues wherever the games are held, but the best way to combat these issues is by letting the games unfold and sending thousands of journalists to these places to report on what is going on there.”

Or by making it impossible for the world to look the other way.

Extending gloved hands skyward in racial protest, U.S. athletes Tommie Smith, center, and John Carlos stare downward during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner after Smith received the gold and Carlos the bronze for the 200 meter run at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City on Oct. 16, 1968. AP Photo/FILE
  • Jack

    Hopefully a similar photo will come out of these games.

  • MrE85

    We can’t afford a gay athlete gap with the Russians.

  • kill_the_wabbit

    Shorter IOC: It makes our accounting and marketing departments nervous when the Olympics are associated with anything other than emotional treacle and national chauvinism. This is why we are able to pass off cutthroat competition among large and wealthy nations as “togetherness.” It is immaterial to this conversation on violations of individual rights that the IOC presents all countries as political equals even though it’s an open secret that several of participating countries routinely commit atrocities against the very athletes we ostensibly celebrate. Now stop asking questions and get into the freaking gift shop.

    (Okay, not “shorter.”)