2014 Winter Olympics: Gay Athletes Will Be Most Highlighted Story

By Phil Naegely
2014 Winter Olympics
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During 2013, and now into 2014, more and more of the 50 states within the United States are passing laws allowing gay marriage. Additionally, counties are now issuing gay marriage licenses without the state saying it was okay. Futhermore, the Defense of Marriage Act was rules unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013. Gay rights and athletes coming out were big stories last year, and will continue to be this year.

The 2014 Sochi Olympics will be no different. NBC will spend countless hours pointing out which athletes are gay, because gay rights are becoming more acceptable among Americans everyday. However, Russia has anti-gay laws. Throughout history, USA and Russia have had many political, cultural and ideological disagreements, and gay rights is the latest disagreement.

As an emphasis to point out Russia’s intolerance for gays, the USA Olympic delegation includes gay athletes. Since President Barack Obama’s decision for the delegation, many countries and the IOC have ripped at Obama for selecting gay athletes into it.

Gay athletes competing in the Olympics should not be a big deal, and are no different than straight athletes. An Olympian, or any athlete for that matter, should be judged based on performance not their skin color, physical appearance, sexual orientation, etc. In the past, USA Olympians like Jesse Owens were chastised based on their skin color. Unfortunately, at the 2014 Olympics, it seems as if gay athletes will be treated like Owens was.

Because of this mistreatment and Russia’s clearly anti-gay laws, gay athletes will be the biggest story of the 2014 Olympics. The United States is trying to portray a message of tolerance to nations who discriminate others based on their sexuality. This year, NBC will have record-setting live coverage and I guarantee you that they will highlight the gay athletes and Russia’s anti-gay laws every chance they can.

It won’t matter who wins what medal, but rather how the gay athletes are doing. NBC and the United States want it to be clear that sexuality is not linked to an athlete’s performance or success in their given field.

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