Gold Medallist Robin Cousins Wants To Pull Reins On Olympic Rodeo

For Immediate Release:
31 January 2002

Dawn Carr – 0208 870 3966

London — Adding his name to a growing list of Olympians and other athletes trying to persuade Olympic organisers to pull the plug on a cruel rodeo scheduled for the Salt Lake City, Utah, Winter Games, gold medal skater Robin Cousins has sent a letter on behalf of PETA Europe Limited (PETA) to Olympic Games organiser Mitt Romney expressing his shock that animal abuse would be included in the events surrounding the Games. The star of ice and theatre says firmly, ‘The world will be watching. Please don’t make America look insensitive and callous.’

Other sports greats lending their names to the efforts of PETA and its international affiliates to stop the rodeo include French Open champions Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi and gold medal Olympians Scott Hamilton and Bruce Hayes. Renowned film director Wolfgang Petersen has also voiced opposition to the spectacle.

‘I do hope that you will do the right thing and cancel this bizarre, anti-animal event,’ adds Cousins. ‘In Britain, such cruel, archaic events as rodeos are not considered entertainment and simply do not take place.’

In rodeos, young calves are electro-shocked into bursting from chutes, then roped and flipped while running at top speed. Broken bones and bruised tracheas are common. Horses and bulls display ‘wild’ behaviour by having straps cinched tightly around their sensitive groins. Steers are wrestled to the ground so violently that they sometimes snap their necks. When a calf, steer, bull or horse is killed, which is often the case, it means little to the rodeo company because the animals are easily disposed of and replaced.

Besides the letter-writing campaign, PETA (US) has erected an anti-rodeo billboard in Salt Lake City and has followed the path of the Olympic torch relay all over the U.S. with protests at every stop. Just last week, a PETA (US) member was arrested in Switzerland when, dressed as a cow, he chained himself to the doors of the International Olympic Committee offices in Lausanne.

The letter from Robin Cousins to Olympic Games organiser Mitt Romney is available on request.