Athlete quotes on Russia’s anti-gay laws

Based on Associated Press phone interviews, selected suggestions

from Olympic athletes and a sport official regarding Russia’s

anti-gay laws and the constraints they pose:

”It would be wonderful if all the athletes stayed in the

village and had their own celebration. … Send one person in to

carry the flag. I have a feeling that the IOC may pressure them

into attending but, you know, hey, flu viruses go through Olympic

villages like wildfires, so everybody can get sick, have a sick

day, you know? I’d love to see that.” – US diving great Greg

Louganis suggesting Olympians could shun opening and closing

ceremonies at the Sochi Winter Games.

”What if every sympathetic athlete were to dedicate their

performance to their gay aunts or uncles? That’s something that’s

very personal. That’s not making a political statement. It’s just

honoring those LGBT people.” – Louganis, suggesting how Olympians

could support gay rights in Russia without violating Olympic

rules.

”Where do we draw the line on how political we should let our

athletes be? Obviously, as a person, I support her doing the

rainbow statement in a country where the laws are – yeah – could be

regarded as strange. But as a federation, we have the opinion that

the field of play or the athletics track should be free of

political statements, even though we can support the political

statements in themselves.” – Anders Albertsson, general secretary,

Swedish Athletics, explaining why high jumper Emma Green Tregaro

was asked to repaint her rainbow-colored fingernails at the recent

world championships in Moscow.

”I couldn’t imagine that it would be news all over the world

for my nail polish. … It was not a big protest against the

Russian laws. For me, it was just showing I don’t agree with

them.” – Green Tregaro.

”I couldn’t imagine how big and how much it would mean to

people. So I’m so glad that I did it. … Of course I’ve got some

ugly messages, too, and that makes it even more worth it, of

course” – Green Tregaro.

”My sexuality is gay and being gay is not propaganda and I

can’t change my sexuality and I’m not going, I guess, to change

that during the Olympic Games. `’ – Blake Skjellerup, New Zealand

speed skater.

”My sexuality isn’t the be-all or end-all of who I am. However,

given the situation in Russia, I think it’s important to highlight

that and to be proud of that” – Skjellerup, explaining that he

plans to wear a rainbow pin in Sochi.