Track Star Nick Symmonds Dedicates Silver Medal In Russia To Gay & Lesbian Friends Back Home

On Tuesday, American middle distance runner Nick Symmonds won silver in the 800-meter at the World Athletic Championship at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

Then he won our hearts and minds when he dedicated his win to his LGBT friends as he had promised a week earlier.

“As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them,” Symmonds said at the stadium on Russian soil, referring to the Russian law making it a crime to support gay causes signed by President Vladimir Putin in June. “Whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there’s anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested.”

Symmonds previously had said, in an August 6 blog post on Runner’s world:

If I am placed in a race with a Russian athlete, I will shake his hand, thank him for his country’s generous hospitality, and then, after kicking his ass in the race, silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home. Upon my return, I will then continue to fight for their rights in my beloved democratic union… I say this not out of fear of prosecution by the Russian government, but out of respect for the fact that I will be a guest in the host nation. Just as I would not accept a dinner invite to a friend’s house and then lecture them on how to raise their kids, neither will I lecture the Russian government on how to govern their people.

Since the law became an international lightening rod, few prominent Olympic level athletes have spoken publicly about it, perhaps fearing arrest, reprisals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics or a boycott that would deprive them the ability to compete (and cash in on endorsements). (With the exception of the great Johnny Weir, of course.) The International Olympic Committee has been equally unhelpful, practically siding with the Russian government.

But now Symmonds has broken down another barrier, apparently risking arrest under Russia’s “gay propaganda” rule.

Let’s see if his solo voice can become a chorus of condemnation.

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  • Dakotahgeo

    Congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Symmonds, a standout champion for equality. Too bad we can’t say the same for the dirty IOC and the Soviet governmental hicks!!!

  • litper

    Thank You Nick! For being a MAN, and actually speaking out against this horrible law, and not being silent like you wanted to.

  • hephaestion

    Nick did the right thing. And God bless him for it. Evil grows when it is not challenged.

  • carob

    Good that he changed his mind since last week when he said he would be silent.

  • balehead

    Activists were going to “out him” if he didn’t change his mind….

  • Scribe38

    Thanks Nick… wish you the best. Its not always easy to do the right thing.

  • darkorient

    What a brave man he is. Thank you so much for fighting for our cause!

  • EvonCook

    Naturally, the International Olympic Committee is as homophobic as they come! Don’t any of you remember they stopped the Gay Games from being called the Gay Olympics, seems they own the historical word (!), but they didn’t object to the Dog Olympics. Just more rich bigoted pigs. But Nick Symmonds certainly is a hunk worth worshipping!

  • Spike

    Would be great if a lot of medal winners hold rainbow flags during the Russian Olympics medal ceremonies.

  • Sohobod

    Better if it was a gold medal.

  • Ryan

    “out him”?

    What did I miss? Is he one of “the family”, balehead?

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