A former Olympic figure skater from Illinois who’s openly gay says Russia’s anti-gay measures seem ‘scary’ for LGBT athletes now participating in the winter games. Matt Savoie didn’t come out until after he retired from skating. He married his partner in 2012. But the Peoria native says he skated in a different environment during the Cup of Russia events in 2001 and 2002.
“When I was competing, I never had any of those sorts of fears. Either because I was not an out athlete, or they just weren’t as prominent, and I just wasn’t attuned to what the difficulties were for LGBT people in Russia. But certainly I hope that when the games happen, and after the games, that people can be treated with equal dignity and respect, whether they’re athletes, coaches, their families, or the citizens of the country itself.”
Savoie calls retired skater Brian Boitano a great representative of the U-S. He’s been named to the delegation of athletes sent to Sochi by President Obama. Boitano also recently announced he was gay.
Now an attorney based in Boston… Savoie also competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and won three bronze medals during US Nationals competition. He holds degrees from Bradley University, and the University of Illinois.