Sweden to rain(bow) on Russia's Olympic parade
Published: 23 Dec 2013 08:29 GMT+01:00
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Bizarre costumes, fit people gyrating, and more gold than you shake a proverbial stick at. No, we're not referring to Stockholm Pride but the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. Sweden has won a medal at every single winter Olympiad since Job was a lad but of greater interest is how much fuss the athletes will kick up over gay rights.
At the World Athletics Championships in Moscow in August, several Swedes caused an Olympic-sized storm after painting their nails in the colours of the rainbow in support of LGBT rights. Unsurprisingly, the athletic authorities flexed their muscles and dragged out the nail clippers, telling the athletes they were in breach of regulations.
The Swedish Olympic Committee followed suit, saying that similar acts would not be tolerated at the winter games. Nevertheless, gay rights activists are hoping for some distinctly un-Swedish defiance, with many organizations saying Sweden should boycott the games entirely.
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Will the gay-friendly Swedes rebel in Sochi? Will they accidentally, at breakfast, spill a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal down their tops, streaking them all the colours of the rainbow, before heading to the arena?
Our prediction is no, the Swedes will not rebel.
It's not that Sweden's athletes lack pizzazz, but a) we're talking about their livelihoods, after all, and b) the Russian law that forbids the promotion of non-heterosexual lifestyles to under-18s has some seriously hefty fines attached to it.... critics have also said it is sufficiently vague for no one quite to know what "propaganda" actually means.... what exactly will land you in a spot of bother?
For example, simply painting her nails in different colours was enough to see the Swedish athlete Moa Hjelmer declawed, so we reckon there is some fear among our athletes about what the actual repercussions could be.