• Spain's news in English

'Lie low': Spanish skater tells Sochi's gay athletes

Alex Dunham · 7 Feb 2014, 11:53

Published: 07 Feb 2014 11:53 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Two-time men's European figure skatingchampion Javier Fernández has no doubt lost some fans in Spain and abroad after he made the comments in an interview with Spanish daily El Mundo on Friday.

When asked what he thought of all the news surrounding Russia’s anti-gay propaganda laws, the 22-year-old told the broadsheet:  

“The games are sport, not politics. I have my own opinions and I won’t get involved in what anyone else thinks, but I do believe you have to respect the laws of the countries you visit.

“It’s not such a big dilemma. It’s better if homosexuals (athletes) don’t make such a meal of it at the games.”

Last June, Russia passed an anti-gay "propaganda" bill banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors, which has given rise to international criticism and calls to boycott the games.

Fernández’s words have been met by a wave of criticism on Twitter and other social media, with some Spaniards calling for him to be removed as their national flag bearer at the games.

“The German teams gets a rainbow-coloured kit and our flag bearer Javier Fernández tells us to ‘lie low’”, wrote one Twitter user.

“Javier Fernández tells gays to ‘lie low’ while he goes to Sochi with his girlfriend,” tweeted another.

A popular hashtag called #YoNoMeCorto, #I’mNotLyingLow in English, is already becoming a trending topic among Spanish Twitter users.

Fernández , who currently resides and trains in Canada, said last month "It is a huge honour to be the flag bearer at the Sochi Olympics."   

Story continues below…

Having retained his European title in Budapest on Saturday, he is the main medal hope amongst the team of 21 Spanish athletes who will travel to take part in the games.

After winning bronze at last year's world championships, Fernández said he sometimes feels like an Eskimoplaying volleyball as he tries to get a look-in in football-mad Spain.

Don't miss stories about Spain, join The Local on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available