Mike Eruzione, who led the U.S. hockey team in defeating the Soviet Union team in the 1980 Olympics, says he couldn’t believe it when he heard that an Olympian planned to burn the American flag if they won a gold medal.
“I actually couldn’t believe it. I mean, first of all, burning the American flag anywhere is disgusting,” Eruzione said on Fox News. “To use your forum on the podium of the Olympic Games, I was like really, could someone actually think about doing that? … I just couldn’t even imagine the mindset of someone thinking that made sense,” Eruzione said, adding that he thought it was a “prank.”
The captain of the team that pulled off what’s been dubbed the “Miracle on Ice” said it is an “honor” to take the top slot on the Olympic podium and hear the Star-Spangled Banner as the U.S. flag is raised.
“It’s the ultimate honor, it’s not a Super Bowl or a World Series or a Stanley Cup. This is the United States. You represent every part of this country,” said Eruzione, who scored the game-winning goal against the USSR.
Chelsea Wolfe, who identifies as a transgender woman, has won a spot to compete as a BMX freestyle rider in the Tokyo Olympics. Last year, Wolfe said they planned to burn a U.S. flag at the podium.
“My goal is to win the Olympics so I can burn a US flag on the podium. This is what they focus on during a pandemic. Hurting trans children,” Wolfe wrote on Facebook on March 25, 2020. The post has since been deleted.
Wolfe told Fox News that the post, which has since been deleted, does not mean they hate America.
“Anyone who thinks that I don’t care about the United States is sorely mistaken,” Wolfe said. “One of the reasons why I work so hard to represent the United States in international competition is to show the world that this country has morals and values, that it’s not all of the bad things that we’re known for.”
“I take a stand against fascism because I care about this country and I’m not going to let it fall into the hands of fascists after so many people have fought and sacrificed to prevent fascism from taking hold abroad. As a citizen who wants to be proud of my home country, I’m sure as hell not going to let it take hold here,” Wolfe said.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) in April announced that it will enforce its rule banning athletes from demonstrating at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, noting that kneeling or raising a fist will bring swift punishment.
The IOC’s “Rule 50” says that “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” But the committee reviewed the policy after professional American athletes protested their own national anthem.
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