Belgian skeleton athlete Kim Meylemans said this week she has been harassed and threatened by Russians over the last couple of years who used her being gay to verbally attack her. She has been publicly out for years.
The contention started several years ago when Meylemans and other skeleton racers refused to compete in the World Cup, being held in Sochi. Entire countries said they would not go because Russia was, at the time, accused of a doping scandal that eventually led to the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Foundation moving the World Cup.
“I got threats,” Meylemans said this week. “‘It is good that you do not come to Sochi, because homosexuality is like cancer and you are ill.’”
Russia has a history of anti-LGBT policies and laws. They were a centerpiece of the conversation around the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“Then you know what kind of big fan I am of that country,” she said sarcastically. “If there is a World Cup next year, I will not go.”
This is the first Olympic Games for Meylemans, who competed for Germany before switching to Belgium.
Every Russian athlete has been banned from skeleton at these Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
The ladies skeleton competition begins Friday.