Ashley Wagner decries Russian anti-gay law

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Sugar, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. misskarne

    misskarne Spirit. Focus. Ability. Tenacity. Aussie Grit.

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    The other issue to consider is this:

    When was the last time a female figure skater was labelled "lesbian"?

    When was the last time a male figure skater was called "gay"?

    It's not hard to work out why the men are staying silent on this issue. If they say they support the rights of gays in Russia, they will immediately be suspected/accused of being gay themselves (following the oh-so-intelligent logic of "otherwise why else would he care?" :rolleyes:).
  2. elka_sk8

    elka_sk8 Well-Known Member

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    Not trying to justify her response, but isn't Agnes assigned to the GP in Moscow? I thought I read on here that Olympic athletes don't need to obtain a visa, but wouldn't she need to obtain one for this event? I wonder how much her response had to do with that, and if USFS advised her in any way.
  3. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    Well, there were other ways to answer the question without sounding absolutely self-centered. But maybe that's just my interpretation of her response.
  4. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    The article says that "the USOC told the skaters what its position was." What *IS* its position exactly? Have they made a statement?
  5. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    Wow, good for Ashley! Gutsy.

    Where do you see specifics on Agnes? The article and the tweet lumped her with Gracie and Max.
  6. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    http://tlrd.us/18mgxC5

  7. FunnyBut

    FunnyBut Well-Known Member

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    I had not heard it, so I looked up Agnes' response:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...4e429c-2a25-11e3-97a3-ff2758228523_story.html
    "I’m not there to make a difference,” Zawadzki said of the Sochi Games, should she earn a spot on the 2014 U.S. squad. “I want to focus on myself and what I have to do well to compete well at the Olympics.”

    A extraordinarily poor choice of words. Perhaps the USFS media training backfired, or maybe she really is just that myopic and self-centered. She probably knew she wasn't in the running for Gay Icon, anyway :p
  8. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I really don't get why the athletes are so scared of saying anything while at home in the U.S. Sure, they don't want to say anything that would imply they would say anything while in Russia, but speaking about the law while at home?

    I can only wonder if the fear isn't created by the USFSA and perhaps USOC telling them to be hush-hush.

    I would say there is zero likelihood Russia is suddenly going to bar Olympic athletes based on statements they've made at home about the law. This law is for Russian internal politics; they don't want to make it into some crazy international trouble.
  9. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    And you wonder why more skaters aren't speaking out? Because if they say one perceived "wrong" thing, they get lambasted. These are athletes, not politicians and not Miss America contestants. Leave them alone.
  10. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    She made a statement to the press, and we are discussing it. It is hardly intrusive to do that.
    If she made a statement to her friend in a coffee shop, someone over heard it and posted it that would be someone who needs to be left alone.

    I don't blame those who don't speak out, but those who do are going to be discussed. Some will be lauded for their position, some will stumble mightly over how they phrase things. It is the nature of making a public statement.
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  11. FunnyBut

    FunnyBut Well-Known Member

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    She issued a statement at an official Olympic event where it seems everyone was asked the same question (and previously USFS had told its skaters that this question would likely come up). Unless there's compete silence during these interviews, opinions are voiced and they should be open for discussion. If she were asked about minority rights or women's rights and she answered 'I'm don't want to make a difference, I'm just here for ME' , wouldn't that be at best a cry for media training?
  12. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

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    Yep! Like I said in the TSL interview thread: If Ashley's mother is a Bear, she definitely gave birth to a Mountain Lion!

    Fearless, indeed. Love her spirit, her style and her fierce determination. Go Ash Wagner!
  13. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller President of Dick Button Appreciation Club

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    Brava, Ashley! :cheer::cheer::cheer:
  14. Sugar

    Sugar Well-Known Member

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    US skater Ashley Wagner slams Russia's anti-gay law - VIDEO
    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2013/oct/01/olympics-ashley-wagner-russia-gay-video
  15. Conga

    Conga New Member

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    I'll add my :respec:
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  16. justAfsfan

    justAfsfan New Member

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    Kudo to Ashley!!!
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  17. jiejie

    jiejie Active Member

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    One can't just travel to Russia without authorization, whether it's a formal visa or a substitute document (to be used in lieu of visa) for athletic competitions. It's possible you have hit upon a valid consideration, and Agnes and/or the USFS doesn't want to risk advance-prejudice against her for either paperwork or the competition itself.

    I would say it is unlikely but the chance is definitely more than zero. Russia wouldn't be so clumsy as to bar a foreign athlete outright, but could selectively hold up issuance of visas/travel documents to either make competition travel impossible or so last-minute it would rattle the athlete coming from a long distance. And while an incident might create international suspicion and bad press and particularly if the athlete had been one of those who publicly spoke out against this law, in the end, there would be absolutely no recourse for an individual athlete, federation, sporting authority, national Olympic Committee, or the IOC. No outside group is going to start a war over this issue with Russia.
  18. BittyBug

    BittyBug Quadless

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    I thought someone posted earlier that the visa requirements will be waived for all athletes.
  19. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    But it may not be for non-Olympic events; which many skaters and athletes in other sports still have to worry about.

    (Still, I think "no comment" is better than a really poorly worded comment. Heck- there might be athletes out there who think this law is awesome. But unless they are very brave, they are going to stick with "no comment" in the US.)
  20. PeterG

    PeterG Argle-Bargle-ist

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    I think that's kind of harsh. All these skaters are just a matter of years out of their 20's (and Gold at 18 is still in her teens). Even the elder two (Lysacek and Abbott, both at 28) are less than a decade from their teens. How many people in their 20's were standing on a world stage championing human rights? It's great there is someone like Wagner who has the inner strength to stand up against injustice, but I don't think we should expect it from everyone. Especially when they are all still relatively young.
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  21. AndyWarhol

    AndyWarhol Well-Known Member

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    Im liking Ashley more and more these days!
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  22. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    A big round of applause to Ashley Wagner for showing some courage and integrity! :respec:

    A very big round of boos to everybody else, especially Davis/White and their 'semantics' argument as well as 'Olympics are not the right place to make a political statement.' Unless that statement is 'USA! USA! USA!,' being photographed next to the US flag or singing the national anthem while standing on the podium. Those statements aren't political in the slightest.

    Also:

    My Post from 08/27

    Ashley Wagner's Response from the Chicago Tribune article:

    I just had to. :D
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  23. Iceman

    Iceman Well-Known Member

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    Getting lambasted is a part of life.
  24. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

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    Seriously? There are tons of young adults in their early 20's who do speak out against discrimination and bullying. They are the leaders of tomorrow and they should be encouraged to make a difference. As for Evan and Jeremy, they are not kids, they are adults, who are old enough to vote, be drafted and get elected to public office in certain places.
  25. antmanb

    antmanb Well-Known Member

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    I absolutely applaud Wagner for her comments and think she expressed her view perfectly.

    Equally though I can't really get that excited about Zawadski's response. Don't we all pick and choose which causes we support and which ones we will put ourselves on the line for? If these anti gay laws are not things she particularly cares about - so what? There's plenty of things out there that I take issue with and do something about, and there's plenty of important things out there where i would equally not be interested in making a difference and keep my head down and do my job. It doesn't always have to be about making a difference.
  26. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    Like I said earlier, I get that people pick and choose what they care about and not everyone wants to be an activist in any capacity. Even if one were to agree with the laws, then they have a right to do so (not saying she's one of those people at all). However, because my own personal views, background, the type of work that I do, I can't help but seriously dislike Agnes's comment. It's based off of my own biases and perspective on life.

    All that said, I don't think anyone expects skaters to be actively crusading on behalf of gay rights. However, there's a difference between asking someone to actively work for a cause or "make a difference" and expecting people to not say something that really minimizes this issue.
  27. antmanb

    antmanb Well-Known Member

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    All she said was that she's not there to make a difference. I really don't take issue with that, and I don't think it minimises the issue but like you said, we all come at these things with our own biases :shrug:
  28. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I guess maybe I've just been focused on the U.S. skaters but I haven't seen what skaters from other countries are saying about the laws and the Olympics. Have I missed the posts on this?
  29. DaveRocks

    DaveRocks Well-Known Member

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    Erm... wow.

    Like BlueRidge, I'd also be interested to hear what skaters from other countries are saying.
  30. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    I haven't really seen anyone from another country be questioned about the law and I guess no one has decided to take the initiative to issue a statement on their own. I think it might be that the USFS is the only federation that seems to be organizing those big press conferences to promote the Olympics, so their athletes are getting asked more. It will be interesting once the Russians start getting asked about it. I believe Plushy was campaigning against it earlier (before it was passed, I guess), but I haven't heard anything recently, and at this point I suppose it could be against the law to speak out against it.
  31. Sylvia

    Sylvia Whee, summer club comps!

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    Recap commentary piece from the USOC Olympic media summit: http://espn.go.com/olympics/story/_...answers-russian-anti-gay-law-olympic-hopefuls
    Excerpt:
  32. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

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    I'm not sure that I "get" why those who are choosing to not make an individualized strong statement are getting almost put on a "list" like they are somehow betraying their obligations as Olympians, by people like Phil Hersh.

    It is obviously an important and high profile issue, but to expect every athlete to have an opinion that is based on enough conviction seems unrealistic to me. Ashley Wagner made clear that she has several personal reasons, including gay family members, that drive her feelings. Her feelings on this topic are thus likely to have been long formulated and thought out, making her taking a stance, logical and with substance.

    For those who this has not been as key an issue in their lives, putting them in some sort of penalty box for not speaking out individually, would just seem false.
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  33. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the people who made some sort of "no comment" response hasn't been criticized to the degree as those who sort of go beyond that.
  34. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    The Russian athletes are in a special situation no others are.

    But I do wonder why there isn't more discussion of skaters from other countries and why they are not speaking out? People are jumping on Agnes Z and others for comments they've made, but what about all the athletes that aren't saying anything at all? That's just fine? Why aren't gay rights groups in other countries pushing more on this--for their national federations or Olympic committees?
  35. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    Good point. It's not like Agnes took it upon herself to tweet that she didn't want to give involved in the political part of it. She was at a press conference, arranged to hype the prospective US Olympic team, and everyone got asked (frankly, I think it's a little early to be hyping the team, since a number of these skaters might not even make the team, including Agnes... ). The skaters from other countries (and US skaters who don't get invited to media events) have essentially done the same thing without saying "I'm not getting involved." If you rounded up a panel of skaters from Japan, Canada, or France, they could get themselves into hot water too. I don't care for what Agnes said but I don't know that she should be singled out for saying something slightly different than "I'm letting the USOC speak for me."
  36. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. The minimum age to hold a seat in the House of Representatives is 25. They are not in any way "kids". Gracie is. The others are not.
  37. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    Patrick was asked by the Canadian media (in short--he does not support discrimination but don't expect him to play the role of politician in Sochi). There's a thread about it somewhere (which I refuse to read). Other Canadian Olympians have been interviewed. Some have attended gay pride parades throughout the country.

    But I was surprised journalists didn't ask questions to the Canadian skaters at their annual get-together in September (I think Patrick was asked in a separate setting). At the very least, I don't recall any articles about what other Canadian skaters said at that time.
  38. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I remember really disliking what Chan said, but like Agnes's statement, it wasn't unexpected as they are essentially saying they are only worrying about their own path to the Olympics. Like I said, it's understandable, but I personally don't like it (for a great number of reasons, but one being that people are still only seeing this as a "gay" issue and if it was surrounding a law that persecuted other types of people, people would be much more willing to decry it). I may be wrong though. I'm sure there were athletes that would have ignored laws that persecuted people based on race since they are only worried about qualifying and competing at the Olympics. We also have people bring up other types of abuses that get ignored, which is also a fair criticism but doesn't take anything away from the issue.

    Regarding criticizing skaters for speaking out one way or the other, I don't see anything wrong with that since they are doing a public event and are pretty much public figures now. I know many others disagree with me, however.
  39. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    I don't want this to be all about Chan, but his comments were different from Agnes' in that he did express his own general opinions about gay rights and discrimination.

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/skati...focus_on_skating_not_protesting_in_sochi.html

  40. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I don't have a problem with people criticizing the statements of the skaters, just so long as they don't start making it seem like the skaters are responsible for the law itself. That is to say, I think it needs to be kept in perspective.