Sofia Goggia is an accomplished professional skier from Italy, having won an Olympic gold medal, one silver and three World Cup downhill titles. She also has some odd and homophobic views when asked if there were gay skiers on the pro skiing circuit.
“Among women, yes. Not for men, I would say. You have to throw yourself down the Streif in Kitzbuhel,” Goggia said in an interview with Corriere Della Sera.
The Streif, in Austria, is considered “one of the most challenging downhill slopes in the world.” Which means, according to Goggia, there can’t be gay male pro skiers, because a gay man by his very nature is too much of a coward to throw himself down that course.
The next day, Goggia issued a classic non-apology apology, tweeting:
“A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest. I’m sorry and I apologize to all the people who felt offended by the sentence that came out in the Corriere interview which, certainly, when I said it, did not want to be discriminatory in nature.”
Calling gay men afraid to ski challenging courses is “discriminatory in nature” in addition to being stupid and wrong, as this quote tweet said very well:
Dear @goggiasofia people “did not feel offended”, you offended them.
It is not a question of our sensitivity. It’s a question of what you said, which is discriminatory and conveys stereotypes and toxic machismo.
You make the forest of prejudices grow too.
Goggia was called out by Ivan Scalfarotto, deputy minister at the Italian Ministry of Interior, and an LGBTQ rights activist.
“I read with dismay that according to Sofia Goggia a gay athlete would not be able to do a downhill,” Scalfarotto wrote. “Before saying such things, kind Sofia, you should stop and think twice: speed is an advantage in the race but with words it can become a big problem.”
Goggia also tossed in some transphobia in the interview when asked about transgendered athletes competing: “In terms of sport, a man who turns into a woman has physical characteristics, even at the hormonal level, which allow him to push harder. I don’t think it’s right then.”
Goggia’s comments, especially about gay men, are about as dumb as any I’ve heard recently and deserve to be both mocked and criticized.