One of the United States' most prominent former Olympians spoke out against a suggested boycott of the 2014 Olympics over Russia's increasing hostility toward gays and lesbians
Greg Louganis, a diver and author who won gold medals in 1984 and 1988 and who came out on a historical episode of Oprah in 1995, told New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that he doesn't believe skipping the Games will help the situation.
"Boycotts don't work," he told Bruni. "Boycotts hurt the wrong people.”
Louganis missed the 1980 Olympics in Moscow when the United States boycotted to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and called the experience "pretty devastating."
"For most of us, we train our entire lives for that one moment in time," he said.
The calls to boycott the Olympics over Russia's policies came after reports suggested foreigners could face arrests or deportation for violating a vague law recently enacted in Russia that makes it criminal to participate "in the propaganda of non traditional sexual relations."
Louganis's thoughts echo the sentiment of the USOC after Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested an Olympic boycott for different political reasons earlier this month.
The gold medal winning diver said despite his insistence of the USA attending the games, he was horrified when he learned about the new laws.
“It was really very disturbing,” he told Bruni. “But then somebody came forward and said, ‘We should boycott the Olympics.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute.’ I had to chime in.”