Peter Vidmar steps down as chief of mission for 2012 U.S. Olympic Team

Published: Saturday, May 7 2011 2:22 p.m. MDT

Peter Vidmar, a 49-year-old former Olympic gold medalist and a member of the LDS Church, has stepped down from his position as chef de mission for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

Vidmar resigned May 6 after receiving negative attention from the media due to his actions opposing gay marriage in 2008.

USA Today says that Vidmar "participated in two anti-gay marriage demonstrations and donated $2,000 for the successful 2008 Proposition 8 ballot initiative in California defining marriage as between a man and a woman."

But focus seems to be directed solely on the anti-gay stance he took in 2008. Critics include Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, who is gay, and former Women's Sports Foundation president Aimee Mullins.

Weir openly expressed his condemnation of the choice, according to Outsports.com, "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."

Vidmar seemed to counter these accusations in a statement released in regards to his resignation, "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. I simply cannot have my presence become a detriment to the U.S. Olympic family."

Days before his resignation, Vidmar expressed hope that his opposition to same-sex marriage wouldn't affect his position, according to the Chicago Tribune. He said, "I fully respect the rights of everyone to have the relationships they want to have. I respect the rights of all our athletes, regardless of their race, their religion or their sexual orientation. I will cheer and do all I can, passionately, for every athlete on the U.S. Olympic team."

Besides winning, back in the 1980s, two gold medals and a silver medal in the Olympics, Vidmar was also known for other accomplishments. According to petervidmar.com, he has "over 2 decades of experience helping people throughout the country to realize their own potential."

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