2,870 Athletes Attend Sochi Olympics And The Silence Is Deafening, But The Hypocrisy Is Not

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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4 Responses

  1. Talk about hypocrisy! No one seems to recall the hostility toward the raised fist human rights protests of John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City (the year of the original NYC Stonewall Riots).
    From Wikipedia:
    “U.S.A. athlete Tommie Smith won the 200 meter race with a world-record time of 19.83 seconds. Australia’s Peter Norman finished second with a time of 20.06 seconds, and the U.S.A.’s John Carlos won third place with a time of 20.10 seconds. After the race was completed, the three went to the podium for their medals to be presented by David Cecil, 6th Marquess of Exeter. The two U.S. athletes received their medals shoeless, but wearing black socks, to represent black poverty.[3] Smith wore a black scarf around his neck to represent black pride, Carlos had his tracksuit top unzipped to show solidarity with all blue collar workers in the U.S. and wore a necklace of beads which he described “were for those individuals that were lynched, or killed and that no-one said a prayer for, that were hung and tarred. It was for those thrown off the side of the boats in the middle passage.”[4] All three athletes wore Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR) badges after Norman, a critic of Australia’s White Australia Policy, expressed empathy with their ideals.[5] Sociologist Harry Edwards, the founder of the OPHR, had urged black athletes to boycott the games; reportedly, the actions of Smith and Carlos on 16 October 1968[2] were inspired by Edwards’ arguments.[6]

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage deemed it to be a domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were supposed to be. In response to their actions, he ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. When the US Olympic Committee refused, Brundage threatened to ban the entire US track team. This threat led to the two athletes being expelled from the Games.[citation needed]

    A spokesman for the IOC said it was “a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit.”[3] Brundage, who was president of the United States Olympic Committee in 1936, had made no objections against Nazi salutes during the Berlin Olympics. He argued that the Nazi salute, being a national salute at the time, was acceptable in a competition of nations, while the athletes’ salute was not of a nation and therefore unacceptable.[10]

    Brundage had been one of the United States’ most prominent Nazi sympathisers even after the outbreak of the Second World War,[11] and his removal as president of the IOC had been one of the three stated objectives of the Olympic Project for Human Rights.[12]

    As late as 2013, the official IOC website stated that “Over and above winning medals, the black American athletes made names for themselves by an act of racial protest.”[13].” — End of quoted material.

    “USA, USA, USA,” is chanted with national chauvinistic pride in words but not in deeds as our American brothers and sisters continue to be bashed and murdered across this land of the immense glass house as boulders of vitriol and hyperbole are smugly thrown at Russia and its President by snarky holier-than-thou “activists”.

  2. joe says:

    When it comes down to it, it’s cowardly. To say this ”isn’t the platform” is cowardly. It’s all about your life long dream to have a MEDAL. To prove you’re the best at something; while at the same time people are beaten for who they are. Your actions speak louder than words. You can cry foul all the way to get your gold. None of you deserve endorsements. None of you represent what America is (well not the America that is in the midst of change). Rest on your sentiment of what the games symbolize while others rest in hospitals recuperating. disgusting. America’s desire to compete and show the world ”we’re the best” is in everything this country does as a nation. The good the American people do in time of tragedy vs how well government is there to help people during a disaster is a perfect example of just how different we as a people are compared to US as a nation and perceived by the rest of the world. I have no doubt we’re good people, we’re evolved people (for the most part) and our Milenia’s will be the ones to turn the beat around. Afterall, they’re the generation that supposidily has nothing to lose. So they’ll go for the changes. The games should have been moved ASAP. People’s ego’s should have been put in check and no one should have attended. I’m sorry that your son or daughter got held up in a game where they may be best in show, but because of inhumane treatment, lies, discrimination, hatred, bigotry, lies and should have opted out. That’s what leaders do. They sacrifice their personal achievements from the greater good. If no body showed up, who was gonna play? and keep it real..they’re still JUST games. They don’t represent people coming together. For if that were true, we wouldn’t be having this conversation…

    • Berl Jay Hubbell says:

      “Talk is cheap” you say, and look at who is talking telling everyone else to fall on their swords and sacrifice their lives for you? I lived thru the 80s and protested and picketed and was gay bashed and left for dead in a dumpster. I was lucky because two other gay men were murdered and the Fresno police never lifted a finger to solve the crimes. I worked with Act Up and marched with Queer Nation in the 90s and I founded a Stonewall Democrats chapter in 2001.

      Its easy to get your panties in a bunch and point fingers of blame at another nation or those who you think should bend to do your bidding. If you think protest is required then why don’t you get your sorry ass on a plane and fly to Russia in solidarity with our brothers and sisters? Oh, that’s right, you have nothing to risk unlike the careers of the athletes who you demean.

      • Will Kohler says:

        I marched with ACT-UP also. And please feel free if you would like to donate to the website so I could afford to travel to Russia I would. Meanwhile those who get all the money like HRC get nothing.

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