Athlete Ally Ambassadors Speak Out on Russia's Ant-LGBT Legislation ahead of 2014 Sochi Olympics

  • Aug 06, 2013

"I want to stand in solidarity with Athlete Ally and the rest of the LGBT community to show that Russia's policies are archaic, and a violation of human rights everywhere. This issue is much bigger than athletics, but if I can help change minds and open doors through the platform of sport, that is what I will do."

-Blake Skjellerup, Olympic speed skater

"I urge the International Olympic Committee to listen to the more than 270,000 people who have signed Athlete Ally and All Out petitions urging world leaders to speak out against Russia's anti-gay laws. The IOC should urge Russia to repeal their anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Olympic Games rather than simply suspending the laws during the games. No one should be satisfied until these dangerous laws are repealed and all Russians are treated with dignity under the law."

-Greg Louganis, four-time Olympic gold medalist

"The Olympic ideal is based upon the guiding principles of excellence, friendship and respect. These principles are not something to be compromised by its participants, organizers, or host country. The IOC and allies everywhere need to stand up and speak out. We need to embody the Olympic ideal: set an example of excellence, demonstrate friendship and show respect. I am confident that the IOC will do the right thing and live up to its own standards."

-Brendon Ayanbadejo, NFL Player, Athlete Ally Board of Directors

"It's important for us to support the LBGTQ athletes and fans that are attending the Sochi Olympics, as well as those members of the community living in Russia, because hate used to justify oppressing one group can just as easily be turned against another group with a minimum of effort. The Olympic events are intended to evoke the spirit of even competition, respect for athletes from other cultures, and a cessation of the world's normal hostilities, and it would truly be a shame if Russia were to place itself in the same position as Germany in the 1936 Olympic Games."

-Chris Kluwe, NFL punter

"The Olympics are the one event where athletes of all kinds can band together and compete as equals. I hope that GLBT athletes are treated as they deserve to be and those that aren't, be inspired by Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin games. Anti GLBT actions completely contradict the spirit of the Olympics and I hope all athletes will be treated equally as they compete on the world's greatest stage."

-Mardy Fish, ATP Tour

"As a participant in the 2008 Olympics, I felt so proud to be a part of a team representing my country at the highest level.   To have that clouded in any way would have forever altered my fond memories of this truly special event.  The Olympics symbolizes all that is good in sports.  The Russian policy of exclusion tarnishes that image.  All athletes in the games should be focused on their sport and inspiring others to follow in there footsteps.  In doing so, they should all be allowed to be themselves and compete with class and dignity.  I understand the commitment it takes to become an Olympian and the culmination of that in Socchi should never be taken away from anyone that has earned it.  The Olympics should be the benchmark for treating athletes equally."  

-James Blake, ATP Tour

"It's scary what is happening in Russia right now. I'm genuinely concerned for the safety of gay athletes and LGBT supporters at the Sochi Winter games. There is so much violence towards the LGBT community and those who oppose the archaic Russian Anti-LGBT. Its just heartbreaking. The Russian Sports minister is asking athletes to go back into the closet. This is so backward and dangerous and completely opposes the work of Athlete Ally. This Olympic event to be staged in Sochi has drawn international attention to Russia's deplorable anti-LGBT laws. In Australia I believe many people would remain ignorant to this issue otherwise. Sport, particularly an Olympic event, can be a vehicle for change in broader society. It is obvious that radical change around LGBT human rights is desperately needed in Russia. I fully support the work of Athlete Ally. Now more than ever I am proud to be an Athlete Ally Ambassador standing up against homophobia and transphobia within sport and also society at large."

-Alex Blackwell, Australian Women's Cricket

"The opening line of the Olympic Spirit mission is "building a peaceful and better world". How is this possible if Russia discriminates against and threatens the safety of LGBT athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics? This attitude is not in the spirit of the Olympic Games and everyone needs to take a stand for what's right. Everybody deserves the right to be treated equally... EVERYBODY!!

-Brock McLean, Australian Rules Football

"There is simply no room in the sports world for intolerance and prejudice. That's why Sochi needs to be a safe space for all athletes, regardless of sexual orientation."

-Dan Grunfeld, Israeli Basketball Super League