"Gay Olympics" In Russia Off To A Troubling Start
Though anything even remotely LGBT was banned from the Iron Ring of security surrounding Sochi during the Winter Olympics, a group of international organizers had hoped an athletic event inclusive of all orientations would be a success in Moscow. Unfortunately, a litany of setbacks and threats have marred the "Open Games" since before its scheduled kick off of February 26.
Athletes from around the globe had secured travel, visas and accommodations to compete in Moscow this week, only to have four sports venues and a Hilton sponsor hotel to pull out at the last moment. A bomb threat spurred a Moscow club into cancelling the event's Opening Ceremonies earlier this week, while an actual smoke bomb attack put an end to swimming and basketball competitions that were planned for a venue on Friday.
"The hope was partly that the international media would still be paying attention to Russia, so surely the government wouldn't just try to cancel the entire games," Bruce Cohen, producer of Milk and one of the organizer of the Open Games, tells Mashable. "But it seems like that's exactly what they're trying to do."
Anastasia Smirnova, another Open Games organizer, shared images of the smoke bomb attack on the basketball court Friday morning:
Still, Bruce believes the Open Games will continue to soldier on. In an email sent to Open Games staffers Friday morning, the perseverance of the Russian spirit in the face of adversatiy was underscored.