Earlier today, my colleague Josh Kurp brought you the news that Stephen Fry had written a very poignant, thoughtful and emotional plea to Britain’s Prime Minister and members of the International Olympic Committee to impose “an absolute ban” on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Calling it “simply essential,” Fry wrote that it would protect the rights of the LGBT athletes who will be traveling from around the world to compete in the winter games, while also sending a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country’s anti-LGBT laws will not be tolerated.
Fry’s proposed solution is to move the Winter Olympics elsewhere – “Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like” – and now another openly gay actor has joined the cause to move the games. Star Trek’s George Takei, who is also quite the scribe in matters of gay rights, is now supporting a petition on change.org that has more than 59,000 signatures.
Russia “intends to enforce its laws against visiting LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) athletes, trainers and fans, meaning anyone even so much as waving a rainbow flag (and I presume many men enthusiastically watching and dramatically commenting on figure skating) would be arrested, held for weeks and then deported,” he writes in a blog post last week.
“Given this position, the (International Olympic Committee) must do the right thing, protect its athletes and the fans, and move the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia.” (Via Yahoo! Sports)
Takei also addressed one of the major semantic issues involved in the idea of moving something as massive and expansive as the Olympics, and that’s finding a city or cities that have the proper facilities available at such short notice. After all, it’s not like moving your weekly kickball kegger from one backyard to another.
Instead of Russia, Takei recommended Vancouver as a repeat destination, as the facilities from the 2010 Winter Olympics are probably still in decent condition. Of course, you’d also have to take into account the travel arrangements of thousands of athletes, coaches, trainers and family members, not to mention all of the fans already planning to go cheer their countries on.
But I’m sure that airlines and hotels will accommodate all of the changes. They usually seem pretty reasonable.