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Olympic chief steps down after involvement in Prop. 8

Peter Vidmar, who is Mormon, stepped down from his post last week as the chief of mission for the U.S. Olympic team in 2012 after reports of his opposition to gay marriage came to light.

Vidmar, who is a three-time Olympic medalist, was appointed to the post and both the Chicago Tribune and OutSports.com reported his involvement with pushing for California’s Proposition 8 to pass. The articles featured statements from Olympic figure skater and reality television star Johnny Weir, and Jessica Mendoza, president of the Women’s Sports Foundation and two-time Olympic medalist.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to be represented by someone who is anti-gay marriage.  It isn’t just about marriage, it is being allowed equal rights as Americans.

“The fact this man who is very publicly against something that may be represented on the American team is disgraceful,” Weir told the Chicago Tribune.

According to the Tribune, Vidmar donated $2,000 to the campaign to outlaw marriage equality in Utah and he participated in two rallies.

Vidmar said his opposition to gay marriage comes from his religious views as a Mormon.

“The Church wanted to take a stand on the issue, and they invited their members to take a stand,” he told the Tribune. “I chose to be involved.”

Vidmar stepped aside after his involvement in California’s Prop. 8 became public.

“I have dedicated my life to the Olympic movement and the ideals of excellence, friendship and respect. I wish that my personal religious beliefs would not have become a distraction from the amazing things that are happening in the Olympic movement in the United States,” he said in a statement.

A replacement for Vidmar has not been announced.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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