The forecast for the Sochi Olympics is getting darker the closer they come. Two-time Olympic snowboarding gold-medalist Seth Wescott has criticized Russia’s anti-gay laws, and also questioned whether or not Sochi will be able to host the Olympics as it says it can.
Westcott won snowboard gold in 2006 and 2010, and will be attempting to qualify for the 2014 Olympics. He noted that he has sufficiently recovered from knee surgery to make the attempt.
Westcott criticized the International Olympic Committee for selecting Sochi in the first place. He stated that “The human rights stuff that’s going on, there’s a potential for it to be an incredibly negatively-overshadowed Olympics.”
Westcott, who is from Maine, also said about his lesbian snowboarding friends that “They’re wonderful human beings, and I think for them to be discriminated against is a crime. They should be able to be who they are and compete proudly. They represent our country incredibly well and they don’t need to be the object of that kind of criticism and negativity.”
Westcott visited Sochi along with fellow snowboarder Alex Tuttle back in February and both voiced concerns that the Russian city would have enough snow for the snowboarding events. Sochi is on the Black Sea and rarely gets below freezing during the winter. Average temperature in February, for the city, is around 50F, or about 10C.
In order to try and deal with the issues regarding the snow, the Sochi Olympic organizers are installing a massive amount of snowmaking machinery, which is not an ideal solution if there is not enough snow.
The passage in Russia of a law banning discussion of homosexuality with minors has been used and abused in order to repress political dissent in the former-Communist nation.