Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller spoke out against Russia’s anti-LGBT legislation on September 30, stating that he “think[s]it is absolutely embarrassing.” The four-time Olympic gold medalist made his comments during a press conference held at the US Olympic Committee’s Media Summit in Park City, Utah.
“I think it is absolutely embarrassing there are countries and people who are that intolerant or that ignorant,” said Miller to reporters at the conference.
“It’s not the first time. We have been dealing with human rights issues since there were humans. My main emotion when I hear and deal with situations like that is embarrassment. As a human being, I think it is embarrassing.”
Miller added that he believes it is “unfair and hypocritical” for athletes to be barred from being able to express their opinions on current pressing topics at the Olympics.
“There are politics in sport and athletics,” Miller continued.
“Asking an athlete to go somewhere and compete and be a representative of that philosophy [the Russian anti-LGBT legislation]and all the different crap that kind of goes along with it and then telling them they can’t tell them they express their views or they can’t say what they believe is pretty hypocritical and unfair.”
American figure skater Ashley Wagner also condemned Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, but did not want to intervene with foreign relations.
“I have gay family members and a lot of friends in the LGBT community. I have such a firm stance on this. I believe we should all have equal rights, and I also do not support the legislation in Russia,” Wagner said during the Summit.
“At the same time, it is not my place to go into Russia and tell them how to run their country. I believe the best way for you to show your support for the [LGBT community] is to speak out about it.”
US skating champion Jeremy Abbott, who did not approve of the boycott last month, also spoke during Monday’s Summit with caution.
“There is no way to answer this question properly without offending somebody,” Abbott said. “That’s why we all feel we are walking on eggshells…We have to be cautious about what we say.”
Some Olympic athletes like Evan Lysacek and Lolo Jones expressed hesitancy in speaking out against the Olympic Committee’s decision to move forward with the Sochi Olympics.
“It’s tricky, because, obviously, the Olympics is about uniting everyone,” Jones said.
“They’re [the United States Olympic Committee]there as our organization and association to protect us, make sure that we – our coaches, our trainers, our teams – are all safe, and I have no doubt they’ll do that,” Lysacek said at the conference.
View video interview with Bode Miller here.