US Luge Team Mixed on Canadian Viral Video
When did you luge your sense of humor?
A popular Canadian viral video protesting Russia's "gay propaganda" law that was launched on the eve of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi has drawn mixed reactions from the U.S.A. luge team. The New York Times Reports
The video in question is a spoof of an Olympics' promotional video produced by the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI). In the video, which is guaranteed not to run on Russian television, the civil rights organization brings forth the ironic intimacy of the two-man luge event given the anti-gay climate in Russia, as a result of the passage of the "gay propaganda" law last year.
The video, which was launched last week and now has over 4.6 million views on YouTube, features two men seated in tandem on a slide, moving back and forth in a very homoerotic preparation for a luge run. The 33-second video, underscored by the Human League's 1980s new wave single "Don't You Want Me Baby?," ends with the quote: "The games have always been a little gay. Let's fight to keep them that way."
"They're making fun of our sport for their cause and it doesn't really make a lot of sense to me," said Christian Niccum, an American Olympian luger who has competed in the sport since 1998 to 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?"
Conversely, Niccum's teammate Preston Griffall, took less offense of the CIDI video and said most doubles lugers understand that they are an obvious target for jokes.
"We're two dudes, laying on top of each other in spandex," he said. "Of course people are going to make fun of it."
The Times further reports that U.S. luger Matthew Mortensen, asserts that making fun of doubles luge is a tired joke.
"For some reason, whether it's Jimmy Kimmel or Conan O'Brien or anyone, doubles luge is always the target," he said. "It's never about football players taking a snap or whatever. We've heard all this stuff before."
The video was launched by the CIDI in conjunction with a meme of a two-man luge event forming the HRC's iconic red equality symbol. It is the CIDI's hope that Facebook users will use the symbol as their portrait photo during the Sochi games.
The CIDI video and social media campaign is the latest in a series of actions taken by organizations in the progressive North American nation. It was reported Friday that several Canadian cities, including former Olympic host cities Vancouver and Montreal, will be flying the rainbow flag in support of LGBT Russians oppressed by the Putin regime.
This article is part of "Sochi-ology," an EDGE special report series chronicling the social and political events surrounding Winter Olympic Games in Sochi,Russia.