Above is a spot by the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion, taking advantage of the close man-on-man contact in doubles luge to make a statement about Russia's record on gay rights. The Internet loves it! Actual Olympic lugers, not so much.
"The Olympics have always been a little gay," the tagline goes, but shouldn't the message be the opposite? That sports are nonsexual and open to everyone? "In sports, what we're doing is a completely different issue than what they're talking about," Preston Griffall told the New York Times.
But more than that, lugers are damned sick of hearing all the jokes about their sport. Christian Niccum told Reuters:
"When we were kids I didn't get on the doubles sled thinking, well it never even crossed my mind, that 'oh, this is gay'. You think of like...wrestlers...football players, or whoever...'oh it's male on male contact so something is going on'. It's just sportsmanship. When did we come so sexual about everything?"
"Between this kind of stuff and the 'You're such a luger,' it's pretty tired. To be honest, I'm not sure I've ever heard [a good luge joke]."
It's a fine line. Surely there's a way to say "I support gay rights" while making clear that "lugers don't actually want to bone the spandex-clad teammate lying atop them." The Canadian ad made a point and got a laugh, but at whose expense? At least it's still more sophisticated than this Olympic commercial for a Norwegian sporting goods retailer, which ends with a lesbian makeout session.