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‘USA Today’ Sports Writer Pushes for Same-Sex Couples Ice Skating at Olympics

AP Suzanne Hanover
AP Photo/Suzanne Hanover
WARNER TODD HUSTON

A sports writer for USA Today says it is time for the Olympics to allow gay couples to compete as pairs in Olympics figure skating competitions.

For the paper, writer Martin Rogers wondered why same-sex figure skating pairs should still only be the stuff of comedy movies and not a real, Olympics category.

Rogers cited the comedic film Blades of Glory where male actors Will Ferrell and Jon Heder performed an ice skating routine together. It was played for laughs, Rogers noted, but why can’t it be real, he asked.

The writer goes on to say that it is time to be rid of restrictions to mixed gender teams and add gay couples.

“Tolerance and understanding of the LGBT community still has some way to travel,” Rogers wrote, “but isn’t there enough of it for there to at least be a conversation about new Olympic events allowing two men and two women to skate in tandem?”

Rogers points out that mixed doubles were already added to curling and some are considering adding mixed doubles to relays. And Rogers insists that adding yet another category of pairs would “give extra air time for the most-watched” Winter Olympic competition.

But, in reaction to the idea of two men skating as a pair, skater Charlie Blondeau probably hit the nail on the head for why Rogers’ idea is not practical.

“Wow, the man who would lift the other man would be as strong as hell,” Blondeau said.

Still, Rogers went on to insist that same-sex skating couples didn’t have to be “directly be about homosexuality.”

“It is easy to hear of same-sex pairs skating and assume it must directly be about homosexuality, but that’s nonsense. It would work best if it was about teamwork and synchronicity,” he wrote.

But Rogers was sad to note that the “International Skating Union is a rather decrepit old body” and seems uninterested in the idea.

“Rule 302.5 of the ISU’s long and painful rulebook,” Rogers notes ruefully, “states that ‘the composition of a pair must be one Lady and one Man.'”

Indeed, Rogers reports that in 1998 athletes were even threatened with expulsion if they participated in unsanctioned Gay Games as same-sex couples.

This, Rogers feels, is archaic and needs to be reversed.

“That was then, and this is now. It is time for a change, but change is slow to arrive,” he concluded.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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