While many members of the LGBT community, and their friends and allies, have begun discussing the possibility of countries boycotting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics given Russia’s horrible and inhumane treatment of members of the LGBT community, Olympian Johnny Weir, who hopes to compete next year, is singing a different tune.
I have dedicated countless hours of my life to a sport and to competing in the most prestigious and respected event in the world: The Olympics. I watched my family struggle to make ends meet, endure personal struggles with raising an Olympian and often times forgo their own happiness so that I could have a chance at my dreams. When I qualified for my first Olympic Games, my family sold one of our cars to be sure that my mother, father and brother could attend the event and see me skate for the world.
If there is anyone that understands the sacrifice that myself and others like me make as young people to attain a dream so few can comprehend, it’s the family of an aspiring Olympian. Rich or poor, a family goes through everything with you. To have a boycott would not only negate the career of some athletes who have only one chance at competing at the Games, but also the over-time shifts an exhausted father takes to make ends meet, or the social acclimatization of a brother who can’t go on spring break because his brother needed another costume, or the mother who works part-time at a job far beneath her, just so she can afford to watch her first born perform for the world.
The Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents.
He raises an incredibly valid point.