Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —
16 October 1968
19 October 2013
Sometimes it’s an American fist.
Sometimes it’s a Russian kiss.
Tommie Smith, Juan Carlos, and Australian Peter Norman in Mexico City in 1968.
Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firov in Moscow on 17 August.
Courageous athletes have always stood for freedom.
17 August was the anniversary of the Pussy Riot verdict. There were protests around the globe. And that very same day the IAAF track championships were on in Moscow. The Russian women edged out the Americans and the British to take gold in the 4×400 relay. Ryzhova and Firov shared a same-sex kiss on the medal stand.
Was the kiss in protest of Putin’s hateful anti-LGBTQIA laws? Russian athletic authorities have said Ryzhova & Firov’s kiss wasn’t a protest. It was “just a kiss.” I guess that’s the thing about oppressive surveillance regimes. Paranoia is everywhere. Everyone judges. Is it a “protest kiss?” Is it an illegal “homosexual kiss?” Is it “just a kiss?” Whatever it was, it made people think. To me, that’s a great kiss!
Real Nadya is in prison for another 7 months still. She’ll completely miss the Sochi Games. Do we boycott to protest? Do we participate to call attention? Katya has supported a boycott. It’s a good guess that Nadya would too. If she were informed of the issues. And allowed to speak. Which she isn’t. And she isn’t. Prison is a way to simultaneously hide your adversaries from public view and also to prevent them from getting the information they need to have informed participation in your national conversation.
While the power and vision of Nadya Tolokno is on hold in a Soviet-era labor camp 450 km SE of Moscow, I’ll propose a virtual activity:
Previz #76 – Activity #2: Mexico City, 1968
Opening Ceremonies: 10am PDT / 17:00 GMT Saturday 19 October 2013
Closing Ceremonies: 10am PDT / 17:00 GMT Sunday 20 October 2013
• Opening & Closing Ceremonies: virtual world of Cloud Party
• Swimming Events: virtual world of Minecraft
• Track & Field: virtual world of Second Life
Previz #76: The Virtual Olympic Organizing Committee (VOOC) will create a few primary facilities and organize a few anchor events. YOU are invited to create any venues you like and organize any events you like on ANY MMO across the multiverse.
The global community of avatars is invited to participate. To play in the games of their choice. Perhaps track and field. Perhaps ice skating. Perhaps medal stand kissing. Some may choose to reenact events from 1968. Some may create imagined events. We will launch a special website where avatar athletes can collaborate, announce events, and report results:
Previz #76: 16 October 2013 will be 45 years since Tommie Smith, Juan Carlos, and Peter Norman stood on a podium and challenged their country and the world to do better. To judge people “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” It will be 45 years since that day, and 2 months since Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firov’s Podium Kiss in Moscow. A same-sex kiss that rocked the world. Even if Russian athletic authorities say it was “just a kiss.” Mexico City, 1968 will consider how athletics has interwoven with the struggle for civil rights. It will both admire and critique competitive sports. It will be an opportunity to play.
What are your thoughts?
How can you help?
How can we make this work?
What event do you want to compete in?
L i n k y . L i n k y
• Real Nadya / Wikipedia
• Fake Nadya / Tumblr
• Fake Nadya / Twitter
• Fake Nadya / About.me
• VK.com / Nadya Tolokno
• VK.com / Vanessa Blaylock
• Activist Apparel for Avatars / Asylum in Your Embassy!