The 2014 Winter Olympics are far from the hottest tickets in town. In fact, they’re getting quite the international cold shoulder. Two world leaders are planning to abstain from the event in Sochi, Russia come February, while the U.S.’s involvement remains up in the air.
Last week German President Joachim Gauck announced he would not be attending the Sochi Olympics, which many interpreted as a silent stand against Russia’s oppressive anti-gay laws. While Gauck did attend the 2012 Summer and Paralympics in London, his office denies that this is a form of boycott.
“Just because somebody doesn’t travel somewhere doesn’t make it a boycott,” general secretary of German Olympic Sports Federation Michael Vesper told DW. “As far as we know, there was never a plan for Mr. Gauck to visit Sochi.”
Over the weekend, France’s President, Francoise Hollande, also announced he had RSVP’d no to Vladimir Putin’s luge party. “There are no plans to attend,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio (via BuzzFeed). “Top French officials have no plans to be there.”
Hollande, the driving force behind France’s marriage equality law passed earlier this year, is a proponent of LGBT rights and his absence from the Games can certainly be seen as a protest. What remains to be seen is where the U.S. falls on this issue.
The Summer Olympics were attended by a record number of world leaders, including Fierce Lady Michelle Obama. Of course, the Summer Olympics are a lot more fun — and feature a lot more skin, which is incentive for anyone. However, considering that the Winter Olympics are two months away and the White House says there are no plans for a trip there, sounds like MObama won’t be traipsing through the Sochi snow in faux fur Michael Kors.