Sochi, Russia – When contingents from participating nations march in for the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics on February 7 in Sochi, Russia, spectators will not see the athletes from Scotland, Fiji and American Samoa.
The reason? Vladimir Putin’s government has banned male athletes from wearing skirts in public. The ban is consistent with Russia’s controversial law prohibiting any public display of homosexuality.
The Scottish olympians were supposed to wear kilts, traditional attire for men and boys in Scotland, while the Fijians and Samoans were to wear the traditional lava lava, a male version of the female sarong. Fiji and American Samoa are among the few tropical nations that send a delegation to the quadrennial winter competitions.
“These attires closely resemble women’s skirts, and for men to be wearing women’s clothing in public is inconsistent with Russian law,” Putin said in a press conference yesterday at The Kremlin.