‘Rainbow’ German Winter Olympics uniforms seen as silent protest against Russian anti-gay law

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Germany has debuted its Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics uniforms, the rainbow design of which has prompted many to speculate whether they are meant as a silent protest against Russian anti-gay laws.

Over recent months there has been an international outcry because of a Russian law which bans the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships ahead of the February 2014 games.

Germany’s uniforms, shown in a catwalk show on Tuesday, features multicoloured jackets, not dissimilar to the design of the rainbow flag, universally associated with gay rights.

Designer Willy Bogner, in association with Adidas, created the uniforms. He said he wanted to pay homage to the 1972 Munich Summer Games.

He said he aimed for a “celebratory design, inspired by the great atmosphere of the times.”

Some took to Twitter, however, to deem the uniforms as “a rainbow patter”, and a “clear political statement”.

One Twitter user said the design “looks great, like a gay and lesbian pride parade.” Another disputed the aesthetics of the design, however, saying: “Extremely hideous — but a well-intentioned move supporting the rights of gays and lesbians”.

The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), have disputed this, saying “the uniforms are not a protest,” claiming that the designs were finalised before the outrage erupted over the Russian law.

The Olympic flame was last weekend lit in Greece, and the International Olympic Committee’s new president gave repeated reassurances, ahead of February’s Sochi Winter Olympics which have been surrounded by controversy over the Russian anti-gay laws.

Sir Ian McKellen last week said Russia’s anti-gay laws are “appalling”, that he would do “almost anything” to help repeal repeal them, but boycotting next year’s Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi is not the answer.

On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee declared the “magnificent” Olympic venues in Sochi ready for the 2014 Winter Games. 

IOC Co-ordination Committee Chairman Jean-Claude Killy dismissed concerns over Russian anti-gay legislation. “As long as the Olympic Charter is respected, we are satisfied,” he said.

President Vladimir Putin signed legislation in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors.