Germany Sochi Olympic Team Insists 'Rainbow' Uniforms Aren't A Gay Rights Protest

10/02/2013 01:28 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016
  • James Nichols The Huffington Post

Germany's 2014 Sochi Olympic Team made a powerful political statement as they stepped out in their new uniforms ahead of the Winter Games next February -- but did they even intend to?

The athletes premiered their chosen uniforms in an Oct. 1 runway show in a design that German Olympic skier Daniel Bohnacker labeled "trendy," Spiegel Online is reporting. The colorful outfits sparked immediate speculation on social media over whether the Olympic team was engaging in a silent form of protest over Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" law, which has enabled a culture of fear and violence directed at the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), however, is disputing claims that the uniforms hold any political weight or pro-gay message, with spokesperson Christian Klaue reportedly stating that "the uniforms are not a protest." General Director of the DOCB Michael Vesper felt similarly, insisting that "this is just a fashionable jacket."

The irony of using rainbow colors in conjunction with 2014 Winter Games also appears to be lost on the head of the Sochi Olympics, Russian Dmitry Chernyshenko -- who is a big fan of the Olympic-sponsored rainbow mittens, America Blog points out.

With protests at Russia's 2014 Olympic Games declared illegal and met with threats of legal consequences, many have called for alternative forms of protest at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games in an effort to counter and bring awareness to the country's institutionalized homophobia. These have ranged in extremity and impact from same-sex hand holding, to wearing rainbow nails, to boycotting the Olympics entirely.

What do you think about these uniforms -- subversive political messaging, or just a bold and bright fashion statement?

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