Nick Symmonds is Athlete Ally's latest Olympic Ambassador

During the World Track & Field Champions in Moscow, Symmonds dedicated his silver medal to his LGBT friends. At that point, he became the first athlete to openly criticize Russia's anti-gay laws while on Russian soil. As reported by Athlete Ally on October 3, 2013, Symmonds has become the 27th Olympic Ambassador for the organization. He felt that becoming an Athlete Ally Olympic Ambassador is just an extension of his allyship he expressed in Moscow.

In his interview with Athlete Ally, he was asked why being an Athlete Ally Ambassador was important to him personally. He responded by saying:

"I believe in speaking out against injustice any time I see it. The way that our LGBT neighbors are being treated here and abroad is discriminatory and wrong. We have made much progress here in the United States over the last few decades, but there is still a long way to go and one of the frontiers that is seriously lagging behind is in athletics. Many gay athletes are hesitant to come out for fear that their fans, teammates or competitors will hate them for the way they were made. By being an Athlete Ally Ambassador I hope to raise awareness about this situation and encourage fans and athletes to make our LGBT friends feel more welcome."

Symmonds was also asked his opinion on how the Olympics can help make the sports world more inclusive. He immediately discussed the charter that The Olympic Games live by. Specifically, he quoted Principle 6 of this charter; "any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, and gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement." The adjustment he wishes to see made are to have the words "gender identity" or "sexual orientation" added to Principle 6. The top two members of the US Olympic Committee has also stated they also support adding "sexual orientation" to Principle 6 of the charter. If this was the case, then the IOC would have to reconsider hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

As Nick Symmonds stated, the sports world has made progress toward LGBT acceptance, but we are far from the finish line. The choices and stances that athletes make are what it's going to take to create a more inclusive environment. As we continue to progress, we hope to see more and more athletes share their personal stories of advocacy and continued support for their LGBT friends, family, and neighbors.

GLAAD is proud to partner with Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging athletes, coaches, parents, fans and other members of the sports community to respect all individuals involved in sports, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. This organization promotes LGBT inclusion through empowering Athlete Ally Ambassadors, as well as team trainings, for youth, collegiate, and international sports to be advocates. Congratulations to Nick Symmonds!


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