I loathe writing about a person’s sexuality because it really is irrelevant. Who cares who you love, it just matters that you do.
It is worse when interviewing an athlete who should be known for her boardercross prowess, technique and World Cup podiums.
Australian first time Winter Olympian boarder cross athlete Belle Brockhoff doesn’t mind, she’s put herself out there as a role model for young people struggling with their sexuality and she’s done it because, rather than despite, of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Putin’s anti gay laws cannot silence her and her fellow ambassadors at Principle 6, a protest campaign with a difference.
“Principle 6 is not a protest agains the Russian government” says Brockhoff. “It is pointing out the IOC’s own principles and telling the IOC to stick to them. The public can help by raising awareness of this and whats going on in Russia by taking the time to really learn about whats really going on.”
Supporters can ‘change their pics’ on social media with the Principle6 images, sign a petition, buy Principle6 gear and spread the word. Belle is in good ambassador company with Alex Duckworth, Mike Janyk, Martina Navratiolva and Andy Roddick and a plethora of other athletes.
“I hope to inspire the LGBT community in Russia by going to the games as a well open athlete and show that I’m not afraid of these laws or the majority of the Russian country that doesn’t think gays should be accepted into society” says Brockhoff. “I’m concerned about the LGBT laws in Russia. Ive seen videos of the violent reactions from these laws and it is terrible. I can’t imagine how hard it is to live as part of the LGBT community in Russia.”
Olympic sponsor, Coca Cola, has recently come under fire for having their logos on the uniforms of Sochi security officers who have the power to arrest gay rights protestors. One such arrest inspired this Coca Cola spoof commercial that has gone viral.
“The sponsors should encourage the Russian government in creating a safer environment for the Russian LGBT community” says Brockhoff of the recent furore. “They should also encourage equality and help end discrimination.
“In Russia, you can be fined or arrested for speaking out publicly about gay, lesbian, bi or trans issues. The Principle 6 campaign uses the language of the Olympic Charter to allow athletes and fans to speak out against this discrimination during the Sochi Games without violating Russian anti-gay laws or violating the Olympic ban on political speech” Principle6.org
Brockhoff doesn’t plan to make any specific political protests at Sochi, no rainbow coloured nail polish or hair and she is, as always, supported by her family who have been behind her coming out publicly.
“They have been everything to me and constantly reminded me that I can make it to the Olympics no matter how hard it gets along the way but they also want me to be safe” says Brockhoff of her parents who have inspired her. “When I picked up my first snowboard at ten years old, I knew I wanted to become an Olympian in snowboarding and my parents said they’ll do anything and everything to help me reach that dream.”
Brockhoff has reached that dream and done so in style scoring a third place podium at the SBX World Cup in Montafon Austria in December 2012. She has tallied up seventy six gold medals, twenty three silver and eight bronze in various competitions across her entire career.
But she comes from good skiing stock, her Great Aunt Joyce was Victoria’s leading skier and a founding member and President of the Australian Women’s Ski Club. Those that ski at Hotham Alpine Resort will know the Brockhoff hut well.
“My personal motto and what I stick by is ‘Keep Pushing your Limits” by pushing myself in training, getting pushed by my team mates, snowboarding in places that makes me scared and nervous” explains Brockhoff about how she will approach her next big competition, Sochi Winter Olympics. “Hitting bigger jumps, riding straight down a hill and hitting terminal velocity.”
Come Saturday, February 15, Brockhoff will have her chance to push her limit even further as she fulfils her childhood dream of becoming an Olympian.
“I am thrilled at having the honour to watch and compete against the very best and the honour to inspire the world” says Brockhoff who has already inspired so many.
Follow Belle on Facebook Twitter @bellebrockhoff and Instagram @bellebrockhoff