The race to qualify for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi has begun, as U.S. athletes from around the country started gathering at the World Arena in Colorado for the “Champs Camp” this week. As expected, the hottest topic on everyone’s mind is a suggested Olympic boycott and the IOC’s many failed attempts to guarantee athletes’ safety abroad.
But strangely enough, nobody is actually talking about it.
The Denver Post called the issue “toxic within the Olympic movement,” reporting that athletes have been instructed not to comment on the subject and adhere to a new Russian law prohibiting “homosexual propaganda.” Failure to do so could land them a night in a not-so-cushy jail cell.
While many athletes deferred to the USOC for comment, one male figure skater decided to go on record with an insane comment that belongs in a Deven Green ‘Welcome To My Home’ parody. “Maybe I don’t agree with their policies,” said Jeremy Abbott, “and maybe I don’t agree with some things, but that’s for them to sort out.”
“Russia is hosting us. I’m not going to go into somebody’s house and be like, ‘Um, the way you decorate is hideous, and you need to completely redo this or I’m never coming back.’ It’s a little rude, so I don’t want to say bad things about a country that’s hosting the world, essentially.”
You know what else is “a little rude,” Jeremy? This.
“My speaking out just makes me look like an ass,” he said. We agree.
And just like Johnny Weir, Abbott is grateful that an Olympic boycott looks unlikely. “Thank God, being an athlete and having trained so long for this, I would just be crushed if that was taken away,” he said. “Pulling athletes out of a competitive event isn’t going to solve some country’s political disputes. It’s only going to affect the athletes, and it’s not going to do anything to change their policies or change the country or change the world.”
Meanwhile, IOC President Jacques Rogge cashes his check in lieu of securing your safety.