A MEMBER of the Australian squad at the recent Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics has exclusively revealed to the Star Observer that she devised an underground protest to bring attention to Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ laws.
However, covertly and under the nose of Sochi police, Brockhoff was busy ensuring that spectators and officials didn’t forget the presence of gays and lesbians at the games.
Speaking to the Star Observer’s new monthly edition, which will be out this Thursday, Brockhoff has revealed she went on a stickering campaign throughout the Black Sea resort armed with mini rainbow flags.
The stickers, which said “Sochi 2014″, featured the rainbow flag above the Olympic rings.
“Me and the guy who waxes my board stuck quite a few rainbow stickers [around Sochi],” said Brockhoff, with vending machines a key target.
She said she kept the campaign under wraps because “you don’t want to mess with the Russian police”.
Nevertheless, when the authorities were out of sight, Brockhoff even found time to shower a few police cars with rainbow stickers.
“It was very stealthy and ninja and I was like, ‘dude we’re going to get arrested’ but [my board man] is a no-bullshit kind of guy who hates bullying in any form,” she said.
Brockhoff, who was competing at the Olympics for the first time and finished eighth in the snowboard cross event, came out publicly in 2013.
Leading up to the games, she was a vocal critic of a Russian law banning “gay propaganda”, which was widely criticised as being homophobic.
The Olympian is an ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organisation that campaigns for equality in sport, and the Principle 6 campaign that urges the International Olympic Committee to adhere to its own charter prohibiting discrimination.
During the games, Brockhoff wore Principle 6 branded clothing and also met gay Russian athletes to hear about their experiences first hand.
In February, Brockhoff told the BBC that she didn’t plan to do “anything crazy” at the Olympics but wanted to attend “because I’m not afraid of these laws and I want others that live in Russia, who are homosexuals, to see that.”
However, Brockhoff’s secret protest was short-lived.
“The next day the police had taken the stickers off the cars,” she said.
Read more of Brockhoff’s views of being out in sport in the Star Observer’s new monthly edition available free this Thursday from outlets in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra and online at starobserver.com.au.
(Image: Belle Brockhoff. Photographer: Ari Neubauer, Star Observer)
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