Saying he cannot support a government that defines homosexuals as second-class citizens, French president François Hollande says he will not compete in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
The announcement was made by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who added that no high-ranking French official will compete in any event, despite years of grueling training.
“I, myself, was going to compete in curling with [Minister of Justice] Christiane Taubira and two socialist deputies,” Fabius said. “Oh well, there’s always the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018.”
The Russian government has faced strong criticism about its so-called anti-propaganda law, passed by the parliament in June, that bars “propaganda” about “nontraditional sexual relations.”
Hollande, who is a three-time European figure-skating champion, was said to have prepared a “highly technical yet untamed” routine that would incorporate the difficult triple axel. He is joined in his boycott by German President Joachim Gauck, who was supposed to compete in freestyle skiing. Rumors are already circulating that Spanish president Mariano Rajoy will also forgo the 2014 games, despite being a strong contender for a gold medal in the luge event.