Nick Symmonds Dedicates Silver Medal Win In Russia To Gays

Aug 14, 2013 | Updated Feb 02, 2016

After winning a silver medal at the World Track & Field Championships in Moscow on Aug. 13, American middle distance runner Nick Symmonds openly dedicated the victory to his gay and lesbian friends in his home country.

The act reportedly makes Symmonds the first athlete to critique and oppose Russia's anti-gay legislation while in Russia.

The laws have led to extreme violence against LGBT individuals, both at the hands of law enforcement and self-proclaimed vigilantes.

"As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them," said Symmonds in a statement after taking second in the 800-meter race, notes Russia & India Reports. "Whether you're gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there's anything I can do to champion the cause and further it, I will, shy of getting arrested."

The 2014 Sochi Olympics are still slated to take place in February, despite mounting pressure on the International Olympic Committee to enact some sort of action that will ensure the safety of LGBT athletes at the game.