Ireen Wust won the gold in the women’s speed skating 3000m in Sochi, Russia, and she is one of seven openly gay athletes competing in the Winter Olympics.
“Seventeen million Dutch wanted me to win,” said Wust, who painted her nails in the colors of the Dutch flag. “Now the extreme pressure is off, and I can win more.”
This is worth noting due to Russia’s controversial law that forbids gay propaganda to minors in the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not help matters when he said gays are more than welcome to the games, but asked them to leave the children alone. He made connections between homosexuality and pedophilia in other interviews before the games started.
“We don’t have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations between people,” Putin told a group of volunteers who will be working at the Games.
“We have a ban on the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia,” Putin said in televised comments from host city Sochi, with three weeks to go until the event.
“We don’t ban anything and we won’t arrest anyone,” he said. “Therefore you can feel calm, relaxed. But leave children alone please.”
Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov said gays were not welcome in Sochi and that the entire town is straight.
“We do not have them in our city,” Pakhomov flatly told the BBC.
Pressed further, the mayor backtracked a bit: “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”
On February 6, the day the Olympics officially started the Google doodle was a picture of an Olympic sport with each letter in the colors of the rainbow, which is a symbol used by gays.
— Gay Radio Show (@GayRadioShow) February 7, 2014
Wust has won a gold medal in the last three Winter Olympics and knocked out reigning champion Martina Sabilkova from the Czech Republic.