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Int'l Olympic Committee: We'll 'Work to Ensure' Gay Athletes Can Freely Compete in Sochi, Russia

The International Olympic Committee released a statement to the Windy City Times over concern about Russia's draconian law banning "gay propaganda" and the upcoming Sochi Olympics in 2014.

Via the Windy City Times: Sochi

The IOC said that it will "work to ensure" that the Sochi Games take place without discrimination against LGBT participants. But the statement from the Lausanne, Switzerland-based organization was short on specifics, only reiterating support for LGBT athletes and opposing any discrimination against them.

"The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation," said the statement. "The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardise this principle.

"As you know, this legislation has just been passed into law and it remains to seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the Games in Sochi. As a sporting organization, what we can do is to continue to work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media. Wider political issues in the country are best dealt with by other international organizations more suited to this endeavor."

The Obama administration has thus far chosen to decline comment on calls for a boycott of the Olympics over the anti-gay Russian law.

Put New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup has already said that if chosen to participate in the Games he plans to openly flout the law by wearing a rainbow flag pin.

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Comments

  1. outward defiance is better than a boycott. visibility is always the key.

    what do i want to see? rainbows emblazoned on every athlete with a spine and an active conscience.

    DEFY

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 17, 2013 2:42:34 PM


  2. What are they going to do to ensure non-discrimination for spectators?

    Posted by: Mike in the tundra | Jul 17, 2013 2:46:32 PM


  3. I agree with Little Kiwi's comment. Flout the law. Defy it. Like that great picture of Tilda Swindon displaying the rainbow flag in Red Square.

    Posted by: Terry | Jul 17, 2013 2:53:53 PM


  4. What they need to do is to put those human rights feelings into action and law - by making them mandatory for all countries who bid on the Olympics. Disqualifying countries who do not meet the rights standards from hosting the Olympics.

    Posted by: Kev C | Jul 17, 2013 2:57:21 PM


  5. The gay russians need all the support and international attention they can get. It wouldn't be in THEIR best interest that anyone boycott.

    Of course, they're banned from speaking out as gay people so we have NO IDEA what they'd like people to do.

    Posted by: David | Jul 17, 2013 2:57:32 PM


  6. Maybe someone could convince American Apparel to donate a bunch of their "Legalize Gay" t-shirts (it's winter so maybe sweatshirts) to Olympic athletes.

    Posted by: Craig | Jul 17, 2013 3:52:42 PM


  7. Boycotting is a horrible idea. The Russians will blame the gays and make things worse than they already are.

    Posted by: Craig | Jul 17, 2013 3:54:47 PM


  8. So the rest of the gay Russians are not worthy fighting for?

    Posted by: Jay | Jul 17, 2013 4:02:22 PM


  9. So the rest of the gay Russians are not worthy fighting for?

    Posted by: Jay | Jul 17, 2013 4:02:23 PM


  10. Int'l Olympic Committee: We'll 'Work to Ensure' Gay Athletes will not make a difference in Sochi, Russia

    I think that's what you guys were trying to say.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jul 17, 2013 4:29:45 PM


  11. And what about gay spectators at the Winter Olympics?

    What does the IOC intend to do to protecr them?

    Posted by: SteveC | Jul 17, 2013 4:32:19 PM


  12. I've been sending letters like this one out to LGBT activists and supporters since first reading about Blake's rainbow pin statement:

    Recently New Zealand speed skater and out athlete Blake Skjellerup was asked about what he planned to do at the Winter Olympips in Sochi to show support for politically oppressed LGBT Family in Russia and his answer was that he would be wearing a rainbow pin to every event as a form of silent defiance. That's bravery that we have to stand behind.

    By himself he might be vulnerable but if we can get every Olympic athlete that believes in equality on board to also wear a rainbow pin at Sochi then there won't be much Russia can do.

    Our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia need to hear our voices of support. Blake is willing to take a stand to be that voice and we can not let him stand alone.

    Any form of assistance you can give in spreading the word about this campaign to solicit supporters would be appreciated.

    Here's the links to Towleroad & David Mixner's site where the story starts and the campaign is explained.

    http://www.davidmixner.com/2013/07/the-lgbt-community-russia-and-the-olympics.html#more

    http://www.towleroad.com/2013/07/out-olympic-speed-skater-blake-skjellerup-speaks-out-against-russias-anti-gay-law-video-.html


    If you're reading this and think viability and a show of solidarity is the way to help oppressed LGBT in Russia then spread the idea of this campaign any way you can.
    Link it on social pages, tweet it, buzz it.

    Posted by: JONES | Jul 17, 2013 4:49:23 PM


  13. JONES, my brother, thank you.

    shared shared shared.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 17, 2013 4:59:03 PM


  14. a lot of "should be's" and "continue to work to ensure."

    In other words, like the rest of you, we're just hoping for the best, but don't count on it.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Jul 17, 2013 6:29:51 PM


  15. a lot of "should be's" and "continue to work to ensure."

    In other words, like the rest of you, we're just hoping for the best, but don't count on it.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Jul 17, 2013 6:29:52 PM


  16. the IOC can't and wont to a frickin' thing about this: they've got their own livelihood to see to. If some athletes get arrested, well, that's on them.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Jul 17, 2013 6:31:50 PM


  17. Here are two links to Russian USA LGBT sites, if interested:

    https://www.facebook.com/RUSA.LGBT
    http://www.rusalgbt.com/

    Boycott pic
    http://i.imgur.com/slKPkjw.jpg

    Posted by: CB | Jul 17, 2013 6:41:06 PM


  18. Russia fcking sucks. I have no idea why anyone would voluntarily go there, it being the most miserable place in the world it seems.

    Posted by: Jack | Jul 17, 2013 8:20:57 PM


  19. Right on Little Kiwi. You said it first and best.

    Posted by: StevyD | Jul 17, 2013 11:06:14 PM


  20. Will athletes and spectators who wear rainbow necklaces be put in jail?

    Posted by: Andy | Jul 18, 2013 2:09:41 AM


  21. Do not "Work to insure ----". Tell the Russians that Gays will treated like every one else,or there will no Russian Olympics.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Jul 18, 2013 9:02:21 PM


  22. AMAZING HOW EVERYONE WANTS TO BOYCOTT THE OLYMPICS BECAUSE OF RUSSIA'S TREATMENT OF GAYS. HOWEVER NO ONE WANTS TO BOYCOTT OIL FROM THE MIDDLE EAST OR TOURISM TO THE AFRICAN CONTINENT (TO INCLUDE EGYPT) BECAUSE OF THEIR TREATMENT OF GAYS, WHICH IS MUCH WORSE. AMAZING HOW GAYS PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT TO BOYCOTT. BUT BY ALL MEANS LET'S BOYCOTT VODKA AND STOP ATHLETES FROM FULFILLING THEIR LIFE LONG DREAMS. HYPOCRITES!!!!

    Posted by: HYPOCRITES | Aug 12, 2013 3:17:01 PM


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