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Vidmar Resigns from 2012 Olympic Post
(14 votes, average 3.79 out of 5)

Eight days after the U.S. Olympic Committee named him as chef de mission for its 2012 Olympic team, former gymnast Peter Vidmar resigned his post amid controversy over his support for a 2008 political measure.

Peter Vidmar

Vidmar, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist, lobbied for and donated money in support of Prop. 8, a 2008 ballot measure that successfully overturned the legality of gay marriage in California.

The USOC's selection of Vidmar as head of delegation launched a slew of criticism online. On Thursday, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir told "The Chicago Tribune" that Vidmar's selection was "disgraceful."

The USOC reaffirmed its faith in Vidmar, but the former gymnast announced he was stepping down.

"I have dedicated my life to the Olympic Movement and the ideals of excellence, friendship and respect," Vidmar said in a statement Friday. "I wish that my personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction from the amazing things that are happening in the Olympic Movement in the United States. I simply cannot have my presence become a detriment to the U.S. Olympic family. I hope that by stepping aside, the athletes and their stories will rightly take center stage."

Scott Blackmun, chief executive officer of the USOC, said he respected both Vidmar and his decision.

"Peter is respected the world-over for his dedication and commitment to the Olympic Movement and is rightly considered one of America's great Olympic champions," Blackmun said. "I believe Peter would have served our athletes well, but given the nature of this issue, I certainly respect his decision to resign. As we look toward London 2012 and the selection of Peter's replacement, we'll do so with the sole intent of showcasing America's best and brightest stars and the inspirational story that each member of our Olympic team has to share."

USA Gymnastics also issued a statement in support of Vidmar, who serves as chairman of the board for the organization.

"Earlier today, Peter Vidmar chose to resign as the chef de mission of the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2012 Olympic Games," USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny said. "This selfless gesture is indicative of the man we in gymnastics know very well – a man of principle and integrity who treats everyone equally and has the best interests of the athletes and the Olympic movement at heart. Peter is known for bringing people together in friendship, regardless of their creed, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation or culture. He has shown his dedication and commitment to gymnastics, its athletes and the Olympics through his many years of service."

Comments (20)add comment

Jonathan said:

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I don't respect Peter's viewpoint, but I respect this decision. This would have gotten a lot uglier if he had refused to step down.
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: +4

karissa said:

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I don't support his political decision but I do feel bad for him because he could have done an amazing job at this position!
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: +0

Klynn said:

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Just goes to show how closeminded some people are...I support Vidmar's belief and it's disgusting that something that has absolutely nothing to do with gymnastics has interferred with the USOC's selection.
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: -2

Martin Kracklauer said:

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I'm glad to see that Mr. Vidmar has the integrity to step down. I'm also glad to see that his using his star power to lobby for a bigoted cause is widely perceived as unacceptable. And yes -- perhaps attacks on the LBGT community are becoming less salonfahig as time goes on; maybe there's real hope...
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: +0

Anon. said:

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I don't like this at all. Those who support homosexual activity are now BULLYING others into either abandoning their religious beliefs or giving up a job, post or title. It's is absolutely sickening to see that religious freedom is now being usurped in favor of political correctness. Ironic that so many of those who claim to be tolerant are really anything but.
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: +4

JuliaK said:

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Nobody is forcing Vidmar to abandon his religious beliefs. He can believe whatever he wants. But he made a CHOICE to lobby to take the rights away from others. That is obviously highly offensive to many people, including Olympians. If you don't support gay marriage, then don't be in one! But your religious beliefs should not forced on everyone else. This is why people are upset.

I also want to state that I admire him for realizing this is an issue and stepping down. I think even people who don't agree with him (like me) have more respect now in some way.
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: +5

RachelT said:

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I am so glad Vidmar stepped down. It is absolutely amazing how someone can support hatred. Now that I know his stance, I have absolutely no respect for him. The guy passionately spends his own money to try and prevent same sex couples from marrying. To all the haters out there...Everyone should have the right to marry the one they love and no one has the right to judge. I will never forget a recent incident here in the US where two women were in a loving relationship and had a couple of kids as well. One of them had a massive MI and her partner was not allowed to see her in the CCU because she was "not family." The woman ended up dying alone without her family surrounding her. My God accepts and loves everyone and no one has the right to judge. For those that feel sorry for Vidmar...when you are in the public eye, you know you are under the microscope and he shouldn't be surprised by the lash-back from the community. There are many gay gymnasts and Vidmar's actions are a slap in the face to them. Being gay is NOT a choice - People that are -simply are born that way. They have every right to find someone to love and marry them.
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: +0

RachelT said:

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Also - Kudos to Weir for standing up for the ritghs of others...I agree with him - I wouldn't want him to represent the Olympics when he is for discriminating others...Vidmar's actions are disgraceful.
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: +0

Jonathan said:

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It's too bad Peter cannot admit his actions were wrong. In 50 years, we will look back and be shocked that gay people could not get married, the same way we look back with shock that interracial marriage was once illegal too. (And the people against interracial marriage said it was against God and nature, the same argument!) I'm disappointed though that nobody in gymnastics had the courage to say what he did was wrong - very cowardly I think. Good for Johnny Weir and the others for having the courage.

I can't wait to see who they will replace Peter but I'm sure it will not be anyone nominated by USA Gymnastics.
 
May 07, 2011
Votes: +2

RachelT said:

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I take offense to the comment above the gay people are "bullying" Vidmar. It is absolutely the other way around. Why doesn't he mind his own business versus trying to take away rights from others. If you don't support gay people - fine, but mind your own business and live your own life because it clearly does not affect you. Gay people want EQUAL rights - not special rights. I am not gay, but I fully support their rights to have all the priveledges straight people do. This goes beyond religion - it affects people financially and emotionally. I find it so hrrible that sometimes people that overemphasize their religious beliefs are actually some of the most judgemental people out there. If you don't agree - just walk away and worry about your own life instead of breeding contempt.
 
May 08, 2011
Votes: +3

Klynn said:

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Hatred goes both ways...all you LBGT supporters are too blind in your own hatred of Christians and religious freedom...Supporting anti-gay marriage does not in itself denote hatred. Stop jumping to conclusions.
 
May 08, 2011
Votes: +0

Anon. said:

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Nancy Armour, an AP writer who knows Vidmar personally (and who does not agree with his beliefs) wrote an excellent article in his defense. I highly recommend it to all of you who are so eager to denigrate a man you don't even know.

Here is an excerpt:
As Peter’s friend, I find the whole thing profoundly regrettable. Candidly, I deplore the rush to judgment amid the political correctness and the intense immediacy of the 24-hour news cycle that in many regards has overtaken our political and media cultures. I also wish we could all find a way to tone down the often-incendiary rhetoric that nowadays seems way too common in far too many conversations in the public sphere — even in a case such as this one, which in theory revolves around sports but underscores yet again how sports and politics are intertwined.

http://3wiresports.com/2011/05/07/on-peter-vidmars-resignation-as-u-s-chef-de-mission/
 
May 08, 2011
Votes: +1

Alex Liang said:

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Can we please just calm down please?
OK, Vidmar has stepped down, the issue is over, case closed. I am quite worried and shocked by the amount of homophobic comments that have appeared here. I know this is moderated and I fear that the moderators have already deleted the worst of the homophobic comments here. Let's keep it civil here people, regardless of your points of views and respect each other here regardless of sexuality and political beliefs.
 
May 08, 2011
Votes: -1

NYC said:

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"Just goes to show how closeminded some people are..." Yes...the supporters of Prop 8 certainly were close-minded in their blanket hatred of homosexuality. I'm glad to see you are against close-mindedness.

"all you LBGT supporters are too blind in your own hatred of Christians and religious freedom" Excuse me? Homophobia has nothing to do with Christianity, much as some homophobes would like to claim. I'm a Christian and love my gay brethren. Christ said nothing about homosexuality--in fact He specifically said Love thy neighbor ("...on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets"). Please stop muddying the issue. You have made the choice to hate gays--don't hang that on my religion.

Vidmar was very smart to step down. What a shame, he's ruined his Olympic legacy by contributing to such a mean-spirited campaign. I cannot get over how people came from out of state to take away rights from people.
 
May 08, 2011
Votes: +1

AmandaTurner said:

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Please keep the comments civil. This is not the forum to argue over Prop 8 - let's stick to Vidmar's resignation.

PS Anon the blog you linked to was by Alan Abrahamson, not Nancy Armour of the AP.
 
May 08, 2011
Votes: +2

Dr. Lawrence P. Bestmann said:

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Peter Vidmar is one of the finest gentlemen I have ever met. Not only is he one of the best representatives of all that is good in sport in general and gymnastics, and a highly sought after motivational speaker, he is simply a fine human being. I was first pleased that he was chosen as our Chef de Mission for the Olympics, then very displeased that he resigned to avoid any possible controversy. This is a further indication of his outstanding character.
 
May 08, 2011
Votes: +1

Teo said:

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There's more to come out, much more, about Peter Vidmar. Stay tuned!
 
May 09, 2011
Votes: +0

Frank Hui said:

Frank Hui
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Giving this a lot of thought, I can see both sides of the argument. From a purely professional standpoint Vidmar has made great contributions to the sport and was a great athlete. His appointment was based on those qualifications. Also I respect his right to his beliefs even though I don't agree with him on this matter. Now I still admire Vidmar for what he has accomplished as a member of the gymnastics community. He does not seem to come across as a hateful person. However, he did openly support and aide a divisive cause that is viewed as hateful and prejudiced towards the gay community by many people. Weir's reaction is perfectly understandable. Yes it is possible for the man to separate his personal views from his job, but it is disingenuous to claim that he could remove his reputation as a noted, Olympic gold medalist from the minds of the audience when he advocated Prop 8. Yes religious beliefs and sexual politics should not play a role in this, but Vidmar's choice in publicly supporting such a controversial measure, opened the door to it. It is naive not to expect some kind of consequence or backlash to eventually occur. While it is great that Blackmun and Penny are quick to champion Vidmar's character, they should have acknowledged that the gay community has a right to be upset. In reality his resignation was the only practical solution
 
May 09, 2011
Votes: +1

GymnastNick said:

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As a young gay man & former gymnast myself, I echo those in support of Vidmar's decision to step down. I don't have any respect his involvement with Prop 8 or his political agenda, but I respect him as an athlete and think that his effort to avoid bringing controversy to the Games is admirable. (And let's be quite clear: This IS an issue of politics, and NOT religion, so let's keep religion out of it. I know plenty of people who are both religious AND advocates for equality.)

The Olympics, for me, have always been far more than a competition. The Games are a demonstration of global unification, a universal love for sport, fair play, and a celebration of & respect for the HUGE achievements of the athletes. Anybody who openly supports a cause that preaches intolerance is ill-equipped to serve as a representative of the athletes, some of whom may be gay themselves, even if not openly. Olympians come in all flavors: man, woman, black, white, asian, Christian, Buddhist, atheist, straight and gay, and NONE of them should be represented by someone who promotes discrimination. Anyone capable of rational thought should be understanding of Johnny Weir's stance on the matter, as a poignant example.

And @Klynn: Your assertion that "LBGT supporters" hate Christians or religious freedom is offensive & preposterous. We hate hatred & discrimination, support acceptance & equality, and ask only that religion be kept out of politics, and vice versa.
 
May 09, 2011
Votes: +0

Me said:

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Why should he have had to step down just b/c he opposes gay marriage? He has every right to his opinion and he shouldn't have to be bullied or demonized just for having his opinion.
 
May 18, 2011
Votes: -1

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