The United States only sent two openly gay athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea this year, but thanks political maneuvers by the Trump administration and anti-diversity comments from many in the right wing media, Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy felt the weight of their entire community on their backs.
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First they found themselves in a feud with Vice President Mike Pence before the games even got under way. Pence signed controversial anti-LGBTQ legislation into law when he was Governor of Indiana, and this made many chafe at the his designation as the symbolic head of the American Olympic delegation, Adam Rippon especially.
Then a Fox News executive wrote a vile opinion piece that took objection with the U.S. Olympic Committee celebrating the diversity of the American team, saying we shouldn’t focus on being “Darker, Gayer, Different.”
And if that wasn’t enough, Donald Trump, Jr., the president’s son, took a swipe at Rippon for refusing to let the feud with Pence go.
About halfway into the games, Gus Kenworthy decided to enter the fray with a very public swipe at the administration to show his solidarity with Rippon. Kenworthy injured himself while practicing for his slopestyle event, and he took to Twitter to relay the news to his fans and take a shot at shot at the Vice President in the process.
“Broke my thumb yesterday in practice. It won’t stop me from competing (obvi) but it does prevent me from shaking Pence’s hand so… Silver linings!”
Though Kenworthy is finished competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics, he’s not done speaking his mind. On Sunday’s news that the heavily favored Russian hockey team beat Germany for the gold medal, Kenworthy hit Twitter again with more brilliant commentary.
Russia's biggest win since the 2016 US Presidential election! https://t.co/UQU6cWPs8Z
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 25, 2018
In one tweet – in one sentence no less – he managed to hit U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin right where it hurts. Putin is already sensitive about his country’s Olympic experience, so Kenworthy’s comments won’t go over well.
Russia’s olympic athletes were forced to compete under the name “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR) after the International Olympic Committee suspended the nation’s Olympic team for gross, systemic doping violations going back years. Dozens of athletes were barred from competing in Pyeongchang, and those that did participate couldn’t wear Russian national uniforms or fly the Russian flag.
Russia’s hockey team, however, largely escaped the punishment suffered by the rest of Russia’s olympic institutions, making this historic victory possible. Believe it or not, this is the first ice hockey gold medal for the nation of Russia.
For decades, the former Soviet Union dominated international ice hockey, taking the gold medal at 8 of the 10 Winter Olympics held between 1956 and 1992. Since its reconstitution as Russia, however, the proud hockey nation has consistently failed to come close to that level of dominance.
More embarrassing still, they’ve been forced to watch as Canada, the United States, and the Scandinavian nations filled the void with professional players from the world’s best leagues. North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) is widely considered the best in the world.
Fortunately for Russia (or should we say, the OAR), the NHL did not allow its athletes to participate in the 2018 Winer Olympics, a move that depleted the rosters of the United States and Canada especially.
That wont’ damper their celebrations, however. Russian’s will savor this victory at least as much as they savored Trump’s.