American lugers are discontent over a video released by a Canadian gay rights group that pokes fun at their sport for being “a little gay.”
The popular promotional video was released by the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion and received more than 4 million views on Youtube. It includes two men getting into position for a doubles luge as Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” plays in the background.
“The games have always been a little gay. Let’s fight to keep it that way,” the ad says.
American lugers say there’s nothing gay about the doubles luge.
“They’re making fun of our sport for their cause and it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me,” Christian Niccum, an American Olympian, told the New York Times. “If I were to go hug my dad and someone took a picture and showed it in really slow motion, they could use it in a video like that and that’s just ridiculous. It’s my dad. Can’t we show affection to each other without it being some sort of sexual contact? This is sports. It’s the same thing. Why does it have to be like that?”
American luger Matthew Mortensen said it’s a stale joke anyway.
“For some reason, whether it’s Jimmy Kimmel or Conan O’Brien or anyone, doubles luge is always the target,” Mortensen said. "It’s never about football players taking a snap or whatever. We’ve heard all this stuff before.”
American luger Preston Griffall, who will compete in the doubles competition, which begins Wednesday night, said he’s not surprised.
“We’re two dudes, laying on top of each other in spandex,” Griffall said. “Of course people are going to make fun of it.”
He didn’t seem distracted by the jest.
“In sports, what we’re doing is a completely different issue than what they’re talking about. We’re competing here. I’m not going to look too deeply into it,” he added.
CIDI says the ad is meant to highlight their concerns over Russia’s gay “propaganda” ban.
“The discrimination in Russia is unacceptable,” Michael Bach, the founder and chief executive of CIDI, wrote on the organization's website. “As an organization, we want to show our support, especially for the athletes competing at the Olympics in Sochi.”