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Olympic gold medalist Seth Westcott criticizes Russia's anti-gay laws

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

American gold medal Olympic snowboader Seth Wescott has become the latest athlete to denounce Russia's new anti-gay laws in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Games.

"The human rights stuff that's going on, there's a potential for it to be an incredibly negatively overshadowed Olympics," Westcott, 37, told The Associated Press.


Westcott told the AP that he has female snowboarder friends who are lesbians.

"They're wonderful human beings, and I think for them to be discriminated against is a crime," he said. "They should be able to be who they are and compete proudly. They represent our country incredibly well and they don't need to be the object of that kind of criticism and negativity."


He also criticized the International Olympic Committee for selecting Sochi, saying that when he snowboarded there this winter, the area did not appear to be ready to host such an event.

It's clear that Russia was not expecting its new laws to face such sustained international criticism. Not that it will change the laws, but it is important for Winter Olympians like Westcott to speak out against them.