Sochi Olympics: “Boycotts Hurt the Wrong People”
Seattle, WA: Olympic legend Greg Louganis appeared in Seattle for the launch of the Pride of the Ocean LGBT Film Festival cruise, featuring scenes from the upcoming documentary on his return to the world of diving – BACK ON BOARD. While speaking, he responded to questions on the controversy of the Winter Olympics scheduled for Sochi, Russia.
The director of BACK ON BOARD, Cheryl Furjanic, will be one of the filmmakers aboard the film festival cruise, departing Seattle for Glacier Bay, Alaska, and hosting workshops, seminars, and films along the way.
Addressing the press, Louganis spoke to how the documentary came about. “Cheryl reached out to me after she saw a New York Times article about me making my way back to diving, and coaching a dive teams.” The film, begun two years ago, chronicles the changes in Louganis’ life that brought him into his current role of mentoring in the sport he dominated for so long.
Questions turned to the anti-gay legislation and violent attacks on gay individuals in Russia, causing many in the LGBT community and beyond to urge boycotting the Olympics. Louganis answered directly, “Boycotts don’t work. They hurt the wrong people. I’m an athlete, I’ve lived it.”
Referring to Russia’s infamous law that criminalizes ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors,’ he stated, “What we’ve seen has been heart-wrenching… The important thing is we’re talking about it, and that we keep talking about it. We’re shining a light on what is happening in Russia.”
“Here they are passing these laws that are supposed to ‘protect children,’ and gay children are born every day in Russia,” he concluded. “Who is protecting them?”
Following Louganis’ remarks, John Scagliotti, Emmy Award-winning director of the documentary BEFORE STONEWALL and Programmer of the Pride of the Ocean Film Festival, introduced the other speakers, including award-winning filmmaker Yoruba Richen, and celebrated LGBT community advocate and filmmaker Andrea Meyerson, recipient of this year’s Body of Work Award.
James Pollin, Cruise Director of the Pride of the Ocean cruises and owner of the Pollin Group, unveiled the 2014 fifth anniversary Pride of the Ocean cruise, leaving New York on June 1 and sailing for Bermuda on Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand new ship, the Breakaway.
“We’ve dubbed this year our ‘5th on the 45th’ as we will celebrate Pride of the Ocean’s fifth anniversary on the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Our official title is ‘Selma, Seneca Falls, and Stonewall: Films That Made a Difference.’”
With the release of the Pride of the Ocean 2014 cruise details, passengers may now begin booking for that trip. “We sold out this year,” said Pollin. “Our group doubled in size. We expect the Breakaway cruise to Bermuda to do the same.”
For more information about Pride of the Ocean, visit www.prideoftheocean.com.