We at Outsports knew the calls for an Olympic boycott were never going to take hold. It was always the wrong way to approach discontent with Russian anti-gay laws because it targeted the wrong people -- the athletes -- and offered no consequence for the Russian officials who enact the laws.
Olympic boycott discussion runs in circles
While it has gained non traction, the calls for boycott keep coming from a few corners of the LGBT world. And they're not going anywhere.
Case in point. This weekend, 19-year-old Jason Brown brought the crowd to its feet at the US Figure Skating Championships well before his long program routine had completed. It was a Susan-Boyle kind of performance for many viewers unfamiliar with Brown. The public knows Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek (neither of whom competed), many know Jeremy Abbott (who won the event). Nobody outside of figure skating circles knew Brown, ranked 16th in the world by the International Skating Union.
His long program was something to behold. Landing jump after jump after jump, he traversed the ice with a giant smile, the crowd cheering him on very aware of the greatness they were witnessing. His final long program score -- 182.61 -- was under 13 points away from the world record. It was an epic performance from an up-and-coming athlete who has finally arrived at his dream: A spot on the US Olympic team.
The boycott supporters want him to stay home.
Who knows if he'll be able to recapture the magic of that performance in the Olympics next month. Regardless, he deserves to chase his dream of an Olympic appearance whether Russia has anti-gay laws or not.
Performances like this are also why I think gay issues will be less prominent at the Sochi Games than we think. Once the athletes begin to compete, our attention will turn to them and the magic they bring to our television sets. That's the way it should be -- The focus should be on them for those two weeks, not backward Russian laws.
Whatever our focus turns to in Sochi, I'm just glad this man will get to perform this routine for the world:
- Boycott supporters want to keep this performance by Jason Brown away from the Olympics
- Semi-pro English soccer player Liam Davis comes out as gay
- Olympic runner Nick Symmonds on why he supports gay rights and advice for athletes in Sochi
- National soccer coaches association takes aim at homophobia
- Podcast: Recapping the Aaron Rodgers and Chris Kluwe sagas
- CNN and TSN broadcast gay-athlete specials this week
- Outsports photos of the week