clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Olympic skier Anja Paerson says Olympics aren't doing enough for LGBTI athletes

Anja Paerson is one of the most decorated international gay athletes of all time. Now she takes aim at the International Olympic Committee that isn't doing enough for LGBTI athletes.

GEPA/USA TODAY Sports

Anja Paerson, the decorated Swedish Olympic skier, sat down with CNN to talk about her career, her sport, and the role of the International Olympic Committee in helping lesbian and gay athletes. Paerson's voice carries a lot of weight as she has seven world championships and six Olympic medals under her belt. She came out publicly in 2012 in a discussion about her relationship.

From CNN:

Paerson told CNN's Alpine Edge program that the IOC, which at the time released a statement saying it had "received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games," had effectively ducked the issue.

"The Olympic Committee had a huge responsibility in Sochi and they didn't stand up for human rights," she said.

"They were hiding from the difficult questions. I think at that point they made a lot of wrong choices."

Paerson went on to talk about the need for more visibility in her sport and the Olympics in general.

"Even in alpine skiing, I think it's not talked about enough," Paerson said in the interview. "From the athletes' side, it's hard for the athletes to speak up at the Olympics. And I think that's where we have to have changes. Coming into Sochi I think a lot of the athletes were very uncomfortable. I even figured if I should go or not. But I made a choice to go and I stood for being a gay person. And I had my family there, I had my son and my wife. I didn't feel like Russia should choose the way I live."