Despite saying she would much rather be know as "the great snowboarder or fearless snowboarder than 'the gay snowboarder,'" Australian boarder-X rider Belle Brockhoff has up until now been one of the more outspoken winter-Olympians against Russia's new 'anti-gay' laws.
The law in question prohibits the spreading of 'gay propaganda' and the promotion of 'non-traditional' sexual lifestyles, all but banning homosexuality. Earlier this month Brockhoff was quoted as saying she'd like to 'rip on Putin's ass' with regards to the new rules, true Aussie snowboarder speak if ever we've heard it.
I want to go there because I'm not afraid of these laws and I want others that live in Russia, who are homosexuals, to see that.
But recently due to worries about her safety in Russia she's decided to tone down any planned protests during Sochi 2014, halting any ideas about her waving a rainbow flag during ceremonies. Instead her protest will take the form of her simply attending the event. "I want to go there because I'm not afraid of these laws and I want others that live in Russia, who are homosexuals, to see that."
Belle also suggests that she will hold up six fingers to cameras to highlight the importance of principle six of the Olympic charter, which states the importance of non-discrimination during any Olympic event.
It's sad to see that fear of persecution is entering the world of snowboarding; ours is generally an open and inclusive sport, but once again, for better or for worse the Olympics is clearly changing things. One good thing that is coming out of this for sure is that the Games is highlighting Russia's new laws on the world stage.
We at Whitelines don't give a hoot which way you swing so long as you're having a rad time on a board. So good luck in Sochi Belle, we'll be cheering you to the finish line!
How do you feel? Should politics have a place in sport or not? Have your say below.