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.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said gay people can feel calm and at ease in Sochi, “but leave children in peace, please,” on Friday.
Putin made the comment at a meeting with Olympic volunteers, according to R-Sport.
The comment came one day after Putin repeated there will be no discrimination at the Sochi Olympics, which begin Feb. 6.
In June, Putin signed a law banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors in Russia.
Putin also said that volunteers could fill empty seats at Sochi venues, according to R-Sport. It was reported Thursday that about 30 percent of tickets remained unsold for the Olympics.
“Why should places go empty?” Putin said. “It’s better that they’re filled, and occupied by people who love sport.”
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The first area set up for protests during the Olympics will not be in Sochi but in Khosta, a town of 20,000 that’s seven miles from the nearest Games areas.
“At Khosta in the park people will be able to freely express their opinion without breaching the rights of other citizens and without breaching the Olympic charter,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Friday, according to R-Sport. “At the sports arena, at the sports facilities, in compliance with the Olympic charter, expressing political opinions is forbidden.”
Russian president Vladimir Putin‘s ban on protests during the Olympics was lifted earlier this month, so long as the demonstrations are approved by authorities.
It’s not known if more protest zones will be set up before the Olympics next month.
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