Sochi 2014

Cheryl Maas – First Athlete to Make a Statement on Gay Rights at Sochi 2014?

Cheryl Maas / Photo: Matt Georges

Yesterday’s slopestyle qualifying events were interesting for a whole bunch of reasons. They marked the official debut of slopestyle as an Olympic discipline, gave us a first proper look at the Sochi 2014 course ahead of Saturday’s finals, and despite some rather unpredictable judging, probably went down as smoothly as they could have done.

Dutch ripper Cheryl Maas was having a difficult time out on the course and couldn’t stick either of her two runs. While walking away after receiving her second run score, she thrust her mitt at the TV camera and our eagle-eyed and quick-fingered friends at Whitelines managed to snag a screengrab of it. The gloves in question, Celtek’s Bitten-by-a-Womitten, feature a prominent rainbow (and weird-ass unicorn…) as part of the design.

Russia’s staunch anti-gay propaganda laws have been a hot topic in the run up to these Winter Olympics and as a happily married lesbian herself, we can only infer that Cheryl’s fleeting action yesterday was her own form of silent protest – a topic that former Onboard ed-in-chief Danny Burrows had discussed in depth on our website the day before.

A screengrab of Cheryl’s rainbow mitts. Via

While we’re pretty sure there will be plenty more gay-rights statements made by athletes over the duration of the Olympics, we’re damn proud that the first one, however subtle it may have been, was by a snowboarder.

The mittens in question: Celtek’s Bitten-By-A-Womitten

We’re also hyped to see that such an important human rights issue is gaining steam in the mainstream media and we hope that there will continue to be more statements that challenge President Putin’s obviously backward “gays are welcome, just leave our kids alone” stance.

Snowboard brands have also been quick to embrace the issue, with brands like Transform Gloves producing and releasing rad special limited edition ‘Pro Rights’ mitts earlier this month.

If you do a google search today, be sure to take a look at the current Google Doodle – an obvious rainbow featuring cartoons of winter olympic disciplines and the following quote from the Olympic Charter:

The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.


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