Anastasia Bucsis an Olympic hopeful in speed-skating, has come out as a lesbian even as debate rages over whether out athletes should boycott the upcoming Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
But it’s Russia’s campaign of terror against gay people that actually prompted her to come out so publicly:
“I could never promote that message of concealing who you are with all of this going on in Russia. I’m kind of happy that I did it on my own terms,” said Bucsis, who previously competed in the Vancouver Winter Games in 2010. Buscis, who hails from Calgary, Canada—and marched in that city’s Pride parade over the weekend—is hoping to qualify in long-track speed skating.
Out Olympians—especially in winter sports—are few and far between: Bucsis, 24, joins New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, American figure skater Johnny Weir and Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff in that very select group. “[Anastasia Bucsis] did something I didn’t do,” says gold medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury, who came out after leaving the sport. “She’s come out while still competing, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that back in 1992. I barely even had the language about what I was, let alone the wherewithal to embrace it, and be at peace with it.”
Should Bucsis make the cut, she says she’ll focus on competing, not politics: “I also have faith in Russia. I think – I hope – that things will get better.”
Tell you what, Anastasia: You win yourself a gold medal and we’ll take care of rubbing it in the face of all those Russian bigots.