Belle Brockhoff wants to send Putin message

Last updated 07:29 06/02/2014

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Lesbian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff wants to send a message to Russian president Vladimir Putin - but she knows the only way to do it is by winning an Olympic medal.

Brockhoff arrived in Sochi on Wednesday to begin her preparations for the snowboard cross event at the Winter Olympics starting on February 16.

A medal will be a tough ask for the outspoken 21-year-old Australian but not an impossible one as she's come third in an event on the World Cup tour.

But just as important for Brockhoff is making a stand against the Russian government's anti-gay propaganda laws which many in the global community see as a fundamental breach of human rights.

"I've seen many documentaries about Russian violence towards the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community and it's sickening and it's sad," Brockhoff said.

"Hopefully, if I get a medal I will be able to use that platform to point these things out and hopefully get a change but you know if I don't get a medal not many people will want to listen to my opinion."

"It's Putin's country and he can do what he likes in the country but what I am worried about is the safety for the GLBT community. Obviously there is a lot of violence, torturing, torturing to death almost, and I am hoping to see change after these Games."

Brockhoff said she would concentrate on her event before thinking about any protests.

She is actively involved with Athlete Ally, a non-profit organisation that raises awareness about homophobia in sports.

In turn Athlete Ally is pushing the Principle 6 campaign and range of merchandise that outlines the Olympic charter's specific principle of non-discrimination in its sports.

Brockhoff is likely to wear Principle 6 clothing at some stage but didn't want to commit to any specific action yet.

"I may do something, but no promises at all," she said. Brockhoff came out last year and said she was thinking about the words of her mother when she did.

"My mum has always said athletes don't really come out before they have success because they are always scared about being rejected by their team, dropped by sponsors," she said.

"I just thought, you know, screw it, just come out."

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