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50 years in 50 weeks: 2014 Winter Olympics

by BAR staff

Photo: B.A.R. Archive
Photo: B.A.R. Archive  

The 2014 Winter Olympics were held in Sochi, Russia, and our February 13, 2014 issue reported that the global athletic event included little gay visibility. The games were held amid political upheaval, as the previous summer, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the anti-gay law that made it a crime to "promote" homosexuality to minors. That made plenty of out athletes nervous when it came to donning rainbow-themed attire or showing other signs of inclusivity. Then-President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and first lady Michelle Obama did not attend the games. Obama told NBC's Bob Costas that they all had "busy schedules." Obama did choose three openly gay athletes to be part of the 10-member U.S. delegation attending the opening and closing ceremonies and acknowledged to Costas that he was sending a message to Putin. This year's Winter Olympics begin February 4 in Beijing, China, which itself has come under criticism for cracking down on press freedom in recent months. The communist government in China has also worked to squelch dissent among protesters in Hong Kong, and according to the U.S. Department of State is committing genocide against Uighur Muslims. Olympic organizers are limiting attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic and have instituted strict protocols for the athletes. This time President Biden is boycotting the games by not sending an official delegation, though it doesn't extend to American athletes, many of whom are expected to medal at this Olympiad. Let the games begin. To view the issue, click here.


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