“Despite Russia’s new anti-gay laws, the calls to move the Winter Olympics from Sochi have fallen on deaf ears. The IOC has said waving of rainbow flags — or any pro-LGBT commentary — by Olympians could violate its rules. Seemingly every avenue to make a statement of LGBT-rights support at the Olympic Games is being cut off. But there’s one message they cannot stop: Openly gay speed skater Blake Skjellerup!” The LGBT community and its allies have an opportunity to support this openly gay athlete and send him to the Olympic Games as our out, proud representative.”
- From Blake Skjellerup’s Indiegogo Campaign Page
#Sochi2014 | Anticipation Station
When it comes to the upcoming Olympic games, all thoughts, social shares, pundit’s articles and interviews continue to lead us on and move us all toward more question marks, dollar signs, boycott threats and theories, overall frustration and a heaping dose of anticipation.
We won’t really know how enforcement of Russia’s anti-gay laws will or will not apply until all travelers arrive in Russia, folks choose to make statements or symbolic gestures, and all Olympics-related events get underway.
Though we know where Johnny Weir stands politically, he won’t be attending the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia as an athletic contender, at least—and we love you still Johnny, regardless of your politics.
Many queer athletes continue to move forward in pursuit of that Olympic Gold: like out, gay New Zealander, competitive speed skater and GT coverboy Blake Skjellerup.
Skjellerup is resolute and undetered. He wants to head to Sochi to win a speed skating medal for the Kiwis, and he wants your help to do it.
As of this writing already, Skjellerup has raised his initial goal of US $24,000 and counting in order to work on qualifying to compete in both the Winter Olympics and the Speed Skating World Cup, and he needs to raise at least US $33,000 total in order to realize the dream with complete, headache-free financial backing.
If Blake is able to fully qualify, he will be the first publicly out male athlete to compete in a Winter Olympics.
Information from his Indiegogo page, a video greeting from Blake himself and more information can be found below.
From Indiegogo.com | Why Blake needs our support now
Despite what many may think, Olympic speed skaters do not live in posh apartments sipping champagne. When asked what it means financially to be an Olympic speed skater, Blake said, “bankruptcy.” He struggles just to cover living costs. What he needs help with now is the funds to access key coaching assistance for the World Cups and the Olympics.
For Blake to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, he will need to finish in the top 32 at the World Cups this autumn. These four key events are:
Sept. 26-29, Shanghai, China
Oct. 3-6, Seoul, South Korea
Nov. 7-10, Torino, Italy
Nov. 14-17, Kolomna, Russia
Blake needs at least $15k to compete at a high level in these four World Cup events and qualify for the Sochi Olympics. To get everything he needs to compete at his HIGHEST level possible, he will need at $33k. We’ve set the campaign goal at the MINIMUM he needs with the hope and expectation that we can get him EVERYTHING he needs. All donated funds go directly to Blake.
Because of the beauty of his story and the precedent he’ll be setting—according to Blake’s Indiegogo page—many advocacy groups have already shown their support including: the You Can Play project, Outsports, GLAAD, the StandUp Foundation, Out magazine & The Advocate, Athlete Ally, and many members of the LGBT sports movement and larger community.