Athlete quotes on Russia's anti-gay laws

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Associated Press

Posted on August 22, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 23 at 12:06 AM

Based on Associated Press phone interviews, selected suggestions from Olympic athletes and a sport official regarding Russia's anti-gay laws and the constraints they pose:

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"It would be wonderful if all the athletes stayed in the village and had their own celebration. ... Send one person in to carry the flag. I have a feeling that the IOC may pressure them into attending but, you know, hey, flu viruses go through Olympic villages like wildfires, so everybody can get sick, have a sick day, you know? I'd love to see that." — US diving great Greg Louganis suggesting Olympians could shun opening and closing ceremonies at the Sochi Winter Games.

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"What if every sympathetic athlete were to dedicate their performance to their gay aunts or uncles? That's something that's very personal. That's not making a political statement. It's just honoring those LGBT people." — Louganis, suggesting how Olympians could support gay rights in Russia without violating Olympic rules.

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"Where do we draw the line on how political we should let our athletes be? Obviously, as a person, I support her doing the rainbow statement in a country where the laws are — yeah — could be regarded as strange. But as a federation, we have the opinion that the field of play or the athletics track should be free of political statements, even though we can support the political statements in themselves." — Anders Albertsson, general secretary, Swedish Athletics, explaining why high jumper Emma Green Tregaro was asked to repaint her rainbow-colored fingernails at the recent world championships in Moscow.

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"I couldn't imagine that it would be news all over the world for my nail polish. ... It was not a big protest against the Russian laws. For me, it was just showing I don't agree with them." — Green Tregaro.

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"I couldn't imagine how big and how much it would mean to people. So I'm so glad that I did it. ... Of course I've got some ugly messages, too, and that makes it even more worth it, of course" — Green Tregaro.

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"My sexuality is gay and being gay is not propaganda and I can't change my sexuality and I'm not going, I guess, to change that during the Olympic Games. " — Blake Skjellerup, New Zealand speed skater.

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"My sexuality isn't the be-all or end-all of who I am. However, given the situation in Russia, I think it's important to highlight that and to be proud of that" — Skjellerup, explaining that he plans to wear a rainbow pin in Sochi.

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