“The Olympic flame is the symbol of the Olympic movement, and the values of respect and friendship that it represents,” said Vavilov, as the Olympic torch was applied to his petrol-doused toes. “I’m proud to be part of its incredible journey, one that’s taken in the North Pole and space in a beautiful example of what can be achieved when the human race works together,” added the burning gay man before his words were drowned out by the crackle of flames.
Commentators have heralded the burning of Vavilov as a new milestone for gay people in Russia. “Five years ago putting a gay man centre-stage at the Winter Olympics would have been unthinkable,” said one. “It just shows how far Russia’s come.”
Vavilov will burn continuously until the closing ceremony on February 23rd. Olympic organisers were quick to dismiss suggestions that the flame could run out of fuel, producing a long list of other gay men and women who could “easily be persuaded” to join in.
In related news, three men in the Kamchatka region of Russia were recently convicted of burning a gay man to death, in what officials described as “a premature celebration of the Olympic spirit.”