Olympic skier apologises after implying gay men are too ‘cowardly’ to ski down mountains

Olympic skiier Sofia Goggia apologises for homophobia in interview

Italian Olympic skier Sofia Goggia has apologised for a homophobic comment in an interview which implied that gay men are too “cowardly” to ski down mountain courses.

The gold medallist made the comments to Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, stating when asked if there are any gay professional skiers: “Among women, yes. Not for men, I would say. You have to throw yourself down the Streif in Kitzbuhel.”

Goggia was quickly condemned by several LGBT+ activists for implying gay men cannot take on the Streif downhill ski course in Austria, including Ivan Scalfarotto, deputy minister at the Italian Ministry of Interior.

Scalfarotto tweeted: “I read dismay that according to Sofia Goggia a gay athlete would not be able to do a downhill.

“Before saying such things, kind Sofia, it would be better to stop and think twice: speed is an advantage in the race but with words it can become a big problem.”

Apologising for the comments, Goggia tweeted: “A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest.

“I am sorry and I apologise to all the people who felt offended by the sentence that came out in the Corriere interview which, certainly, when I said it, did not want to be of a discriminatory nature.

Goggia also waded in to the toxic debate of trans women taking part in women’s sports, a topic which has led ministers in Australia to push a bill banning trans women from sport, and British trans cyclist Emily Bridges to be banned from participating in a major championship.

“In terms of sport, a man who turns into a woman has physical characteristics, even at the hormonal level, which allow him to push harder. I don’t think it’s right then,” Goggia said in the interview.

Trans youth charity Mermaids has previously slammed the idea that trans women should not take part in female sports.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Trans women do not have an unfair advantage in sports and their participation does not harm cis women.

“To even be considered eligible to compete at an elite level, female trans athletes must undergo hormone therapy and rigorous testing for at least a year prior to training and competing.

“As we’ve seen with athletes such as Lia Thomas and Laurel Hubbard, who’ve both been beaten by cis-female athletes in their respective sports, being trans does not guarantee a win.”