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Germany shows its support for gay rights through its team uniforms at Olympics

Campus Correspondent

Published: Monday, February 10, 2014

Updated: Monday, February 10, 2014 21:02

The 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia have triggered a lot of controversy, as Russia is one of the only countries from the developed world that maintain openly anti-gay laws.

Russia’s government has received a lot of criticism towards its latest legislation, which banned “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”

Since the laws passed, many Russian gay rights activists have been arrested and hate crimes towards homosexual minors have increased.

However, there have been many different types of support for human rights in the midst of the controversy-filled Winter Olympics.

Germany’s Olympic team uniform featured a rainbow design, which many understood as a symbol of gay rights activism.

The designer of the uniforms, Willy Bogner, described the design as a representation of “the great atmosphere” of the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, during an interview for USA Today.

The games of 1972 were meant to represent a new, democratic Germany, instead of the Berlin 1936’s Games, which took place during the Nazi regime.

The German uniform is supposed to represent the German improvement towards human rights between their two Olympic games.

Google also portrayed its sympathy towards human rights in their Winter Olympics doodle.

The doodle encompasses different winter sports under the backdrop with the colors of a rainbow flag, which has been adopted by the gay community as their symbol for gay rights.

The Google homepage also had an excerpt from the fourth paragraph of the Charter’s Fundamental Principles of Olympism.”

“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play,” Google used this excerpt in order to express that the Olympics were founded on human rights.

Even during the opening ceremony of the Olympics themselves, there were hints of human rights support during the speech of International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

“The Olympic Games are a sports festival embracing human diversity and great unity,” he said. “Therefore I say to the political leaders of the world, … please respect their Olympic message of goodwill, of tolerance, of excellence and of peace.” Bach addressed all the political leaders of the world and reminded them that the Olympics are about tolerance and human diversity.

The Sochi games have sparked a lot of attention and criticism towards Russia’s anti-gay policies, which will hopefully bring further international action.  

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