Olympic Skier Mike Janyk Becomes Athlete Ally Ambassador

  • Sep 04, 2013

Canadian alpine skier Mike Janyk has signed on to become an Athlete Ally Ambassador, advocating for inclusion and equal treatment for the LGBT community ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Janyk joins a rapidly expanding collection of non-LGBT athletes competing at the Sochi Games who are standing up for LGBT equality in response to Russia’s deplorable anti-gay legislation. In just a few days, on September 7th the International Olympic Committee will select the new host city for the 2020 Games.

With the addition of Janyk, Athlete Ally now boasts 23 current or former professional Ambassadors who are also Olympians, hailing from ten countries across six sports. Janyk was last seen competing in the 2006 Olympic Games where he took 17th place in the slalom event. He was a bronze medalist at the 2009 Alpine Skiing World Championships. He also marched in Vancouver Pride in support of the LGBT community.

Athlete Ally and Janyk seek commitment from the International Olympic Committee to Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter. :

“Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

- Principle 6 of Olympic Charter

Athlete Ally, a leading international nonprofit working to eradicate homophobia in sports, is building a network of support for openly gay athletes like Blake Skellerup, Antasia Bucsis, Belle Brockhoff, and Johnny Weir. Athlete Ally’s efforts also focus on bettering conditions for the Russian LGBT community and for closeted athletes competing in the Winter Games.

Janyk’s affiliation with Athlete Ally as a straight ally underlines his commitment to equality, and highlights the need for all Olympians, athletes, and supporters to demand respect for LGBT people in Russia.

"I've had the fortune and freedom to pursue my dreams in sport and have seen first-hand how it brings people from around the world together in the pursuit of love, happiness and excellence,” said Janyk. “If I may enjoy this freedom so should every other human being, with whom I would proudly stand with on any field of play.”

“Outspoken straight allies like Mike Janyk are essential to the movement towards acceptance and inclusion. I look forward to meeting him in Sochi and thanking him in person for his affiliation with Athlete Ally. Combatting homophobia takes all of us working together and I am so proud of Mike for being vocal and grateful for his commitment to this issue,” said Athlete Ally Advisory Board member and Olympic legend Greg Louganis.

Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally, said of Janyk’s advocacy, “Mike is an exceptional athlete, and has already demonstrated a commitment to equal rights for the LGBT community. As the Winter Games in Sochi approach, his voice will stand as one of the most powerful and respected in the world, making an incredible addition to our team of allies”

Athlete Ally’s work for equality in the Olympic movement continues to grow. The organization recently launched the social media campaign “Choose Madrid Early” to urge the IOC to select Madrid as the 2020 Summer Games host city and take LGBT equality and inclusion into account when making these decisions. To support #Choose Madrid”, sign the pledge here: http://www.athleteally.org/action/choose-madrid/