The silver medalist dedicated his finish to his gay and lesbian friends.
Standout American middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds won a silver medal Tuesday in the 800 at the world Championships in Russia, and then he used his platform to speak out about that country’s anti-gay laws.
“If there’s anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will,” said Symmonds, who placed fifth in the event at last summer’s London Olympics.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Symmonds dedicated his second place finish to his “gay and lesbian friends.” Russia has been heavily criticized worldwide for passing laws that many believe persecute the nation’s LGBT population.
“Whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights,” Symmonds said in Moscow. “If there’s anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested.”
Russia’s resort town of Sochi is getting set to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. President Barack Obama said last week that he was strongly against calls to boycott the Sochi games, saying that the best way to protest Russia’s laws is to send American athletes and watch them win.
More: The Guardian