Bode Miller says Russian anti-gay law 'ignorant'

Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:49pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - While some athletes danced around Russia's anti-gay legislation on Monday American skiing great Bode Miller met the issue head on by calling next year's Sochi Winter Olympic hosts "ignorant."

Speaking at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) media summit, the outspoken Miller was very clear on his view of a controversial Russian law which bans the spread of homosexual propaganda among minors.

"It is absolutely embarrassing that there are countries and people who are that intolerant, that ignorant, said Miller, who will be bidding for a place on his fifth U.S. Olympic team.

"But it's not the first time we've been dealing with human rights issues since there were humans."

Critics say the law bars all gay rights rallies and could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for homosexuals while supporters say it will help protect children.

Earlier, six members of the U.S. figure skating team were also asked their thoughts on the law that has drawn worldwide condemnation and cast a shadow over the buildup to the February 7-23 Winter Games.

All of the figure skaters, with the exception of U.S. women's champion Ashley Wagner, danced around the delicate issue saying they were only athletes and leaving it up to the USOC and International Olympic Committee (IOC) to establish a position.

Miller, however, has seldom let anyone else speak for him and has never shied away from controversy during a skiing career that has made him one of the sport's most popular and successful athletes.   Continued...

Gold medallist Bode Miller of the U.S. celebrates during the medals ceremony for the men's super combined alpine skiing event during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler, British Columbia February 21, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar