The U.S. Olympic Committee has named Peter Vidmar, a 1984 gold medalist in gymnastics, as its chief of mission for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in London. In this job, Vidmar will be the liaison officer for the U.S. team in dealing with the International Olympic Committee and London organizers.
Vidmar, a Mormon, is an active opponent of gay marriage. In the 2008 fight for Proposition 8 in California, Vidmar donated $2,000 to pass the ballot initiative and also protested in public.
It is not likely that the Olympic Committee deliberately selected Vidmar to slight gay Americans. More likely, they simply don’t consider anti-gay activism to be a disqualifier for its representatives. Equality for gay people is – to the USOC – just “an opinion” over which reasonable people may differ.
In today’s highly competitive television market where a downtick of just a few percentage of viewers can cost the Olympics millions, and in which corporations (including those who fund the olympics) are supportive of gay equality and very hesitant to align with negative associations, this is a risky way to operate.