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PRESS RELEASE - OutSport Toronto Supports Out New Zealand Olympian Blake Skjellerup In His Quest For Equality

For Immediate Release

Toronto - OUTSPORT TORONTO is proud to support out New Zealand Olympian Blake Skjellerup as he risks arrest and deportation at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in Russia, for wearing a rainbow pin and for being an out, proud gay man.

Blake-SkjellerupBlake-SkjellerupThe Toronto-based organisation is also calling on more athletes to show solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia and around the world by wearing a rainbow pin at their competitions leading up to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.

“Laws like this are meant to bully LGBT people and our allies into silence,“ says Shawn Sheridan, Chair of OUTSPORT TORONTO.  “They remind us of other times in history and places in the world where people have been, and continue to be, terrorized, tortured, and killed based not only on their sexual orientation or gender identity, but also on their skin colour, sex, religion and place of origin.  None of this has a place in our world today, and those in positions of influence and power must continue to combat all forms of discrimination.”

“For athletes to perform at their best they need to be authentic,” added Kris Burley, Atlanta 1996 Olympian.  “The Olympics are about excellence and athletes should be focused on their performance, not fearing that they, their family, friends or teammates will be arrested for just being who they are.  There is no place for discrimination of any kind at the Olympic Games.”

Under newly-enacted Russian law banning “gay propaganda,” any person – whether native Russian or a visiting tourist – considered to be “pro-gay” can be arrested.  Foreign tourists may also be detained for 14 days and deported from Russia.


OutSport Toronto is a not-for-profit umbrella organisation with more than 20 member groups that deliver programming in amateur sport and recreation to the LGBT community in Toronto, Canada.  With its member organisations, allies, and partners, OutSport Toronto works to create safe, welcoming spaces where everyone can get out and play!


For media inquires, please contact:

Shawn Sheridan
(647) 800-9637