Dutch brass band Kleintje Pils, best known for its performances at Olympic speed skating ovals, may play the Village People’s “YMCA” song at the Winter Olympics in Sochi to show support for LGBT rights.
It’s unknown how Olympic and Russian authorities would react if the band played a song considered by many to be a gay anthem, although there is nothing overtly sexual or romantic in the song’s lyrics.
The leader of the band, Ruud Bakker, told The Associated Press on January 21 that they are considering adding the song to its lineup of sing-along titles as a “signal.” However, he said that no one in Kleintje Pils wanted to be antagonistic to authorities or use the gig as a “political game.”
Still, Bakker added, “We will see if we can get one or two songs into the selection, knowing that in the Netherlands it will be seen as a signal we are thinking of [the gay community].”
Kleintje Pils performs at the Olympics to keep crowds engaged during breaks in the action to resurface the ice-skating rink, playing songs that get spectators from all over the world to dance along with the music. Adding a political message to that show would be unprecedented for them.
According to ESPN, however, the band did play “YMCA” during the Salt Lake City games in 2002.
Some of the athletes set to participate in the games have already made indirect shows of support for the Russian LGBT community, causing some controversy in the country. In August 2013, for example, at the world athletics championships in Moscow, high jumper Emma Green Tregaro of Sweden painted her nailed in rainbow colors. When track officials said it might be in violation of the meet’s code of conduct, though, she reappeared with red nails for the finals.