Documentary on LGBT Olympians secretly filmed at Sochi Games

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Johnny Weir was one of the breakout stars at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, giving his unique perspective as a figure skating analyst for NBC alongside Tara Lipinski. Out of the Iceberg Skating Palace, Weir was working on a different project — hosting “To Russia With Love,” a documentary about gay Olympic athletes.

Set to air on the channel EPIX on October 22nd, the film will feature Weir interviewing a number of 2014 Olympians who identify as LGBT: Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, Swiss snowboarder Simona Meiler, Canadian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis, New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup, and Canadian hockey player Charline Labonté.

Also appearing in the film are Billie Jean King, the tennis legend who was chosen by President Obama to serve as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Sochi Games, and Greg Louganis, the diver who won gold at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

The film was shot in New York City, Calgary, Toronto, St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as Sochi.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that director Noam Gonick did not seek permission from Russian authorities before filming in Sochi.

The summer before the Sochi Olympics, Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors in Russia. Many were worried that gay athletes or visitors would experience discrimination or prosecution while at the Games.

EPIX is bringing a documentary about gay athletes to the small screen that was partially shot during the Sochi Winter Games.

Aly Raisman calls out airport worker for ‘muscles’ comment

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Three-time Olympic champion Aly Raisman called out a male airport security worker who she says questioned whether she had enough muscles to be a gymnast.

Raisman posted on Twitter on Wednesday that after a female Transportation Security Administration worker said she recognized Raisman by her biceps, a male employee said, “I don’t see any muscles.” Raisman called the encounter “rude & uncomfortable.”

Raisman, who turned 23 Thursday, says she works “very hard to be healthy & fit.” She says that if a man can’t compliment a girl’s muscles, he’s sexist.

Raisman didn’t say where or when the airport exchange took place.

Raisman previously authored a powerful social media post about body image, shouting out “to all the boys from 5th-9th grade who made fun of me for being ‘too strong’” in November.

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MORE: U.S. gymnasts give emotional testimony about sexual abuse

 

House OKs bill requiring sports groups to report sex abuse

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Angered by allegations that some members of USA Gymnastics were sexually abused, the House overwhelmingly backed legislation on Thursday that requires amateur sports groups recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee to report claims of sexual abuse to police.

The vote was 415-3, with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., saying the Olympic community clearly had failed to protect its athletes and must do better.

The legislation stems from allegations that a sports doctor for USA Gymnastics sexually assaulted gymnasts he treated for hip and back injuries. The doctor, Larry Nassar, has denied wrongdoing. He is currently the defendant in four separate criminal cases. In one of the cases, a Michigan judge is deciding whether there’s enough evidence to send the former Michigan State University doctor to trial on allegations he sexually assaulted seven gymnasts at a campus clinic or at his home basement.

Three former elite U.S. gymnasts, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, have also accused Nassar of touching them inappropriately while he disguised the abuse as treatment. In all, more than 100 women have alleged they were abused by Nassar over more than two decades.

“I understand how challenging it is to share painful stories of sexual abuse, and I am proud of the brave gymnasts who have shared their stories — stories that should never have happened, and stories that went inexcusably unanswered,” Brooks said. “Their stories demand our attention and action.”

The bill also relaxes the statute of limitations for those seeking civil damages. Victims alleging they were abused will have 10 years from the time they reach adulthood to file a civil lawsuit.

The bill also clarifies that once a victim has established that harm occurred, the court will presume damages of $150,000.

A similar bill, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has cleared a Senate panel. Feinstein said her legislation would make it safe and easy for victims to report abuse and that organizations such as USA Gymnastics would have to ensure coaches and personnel are trained in sexual abuse prevention.

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MORE: U.S. gymnasts give emotional testimony about sexual abuse