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IOC: Olympic Athletes, Press, And Guests Are Exempt From Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

2014 Olympics
Russia's anti-gay propaganda law, which has already been used to detain four Dutch citizens visiting the country, has proved problematic for the International Olympic Committee in recent weeks. While the committee has previously promised that it would "work to ensure" that LGBT athletes can participate in the games without worry, safety has recently been far from a guarantee, especially with at least one openly-gay Olympian pledging to wear a rainbow pin to the games. 

Now, according to RiaNovosti, the IOC has released a statement saying that it has received “assurances from the highest level” that any LGBT individuals paticipating in the games will be able to do so without incident. The statement comes via R-Sport:

“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. To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

"The legislation", of course, refers to Russia's ban on "homosexual propaganda". RiaNovosti notes that, normally, said ban...

"Imposes fines for such offenses from 800,000 rubles ($24,000) to 1 million rubles ($30,500) for legal entities, from 4,000 rubles ($120) to 5,000 rubles ($150) for individuals and from 40,000 rubles ($1,220) to 50,000 rubles ($1,530) for officials...Promotion of such relations with the use of mass media or Internet resources will see harsher penalties of 50,000-100,000 rubles ($1,520-3,050) for individuals, 100,000-200,000 rubles ($3,050-6,100) for officials and 1 million rubles or 90-day suspension for legal entities."

Should the IOC's announcement prove true, this would no doubt embolden those wishing to use the 2014 Games as a forum for protest. No word has yet been released as to how this news affects the many advocates and organizations calling for a boycott of the games. Although, since such boycotts are intended to protest more than just the potential harassment of gay athletes, few are likely to change their tune. 


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  1. Let Putin make the assurances publicly and in writing.

    Posted by: gb | Jul 26, 2013 6:25:06 PM

  2. @Simon: "Does it mean the law means nothing and the words of senior officials are more important?"

    Simon, I don't think we are in Kansas anymore.

    Russian officials understand the rules: "If you arrest any athletes or anyone attending the games on the basis of this silly law, you'll never get to host an Olympics event again." And that will make the not-so-mighty Ruble even less mighty.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 26, 2013 6:50:03 PM

  3. 'Nontraditional sexual relations' probably also include prostitution. IOC also obtained assurance from senior officials that foreigners and athletes can engage in those activities.

    Posted by: simon | Jul 26, 2013 8:16:57 PM

  4. it's gonna be a shitshow, just watch

    Posted by: gomez | Jul 26, 2013 10:37:57 PM

  5. Well, I still won't watch the Olympics because Russia sucks. At least, though, it's good to know that athletes and visitors and press members will be safe from Russian hatred. Thank goodness for that.

    Posted by: Andy | Jul 27, 2013 12:00:45 AM

  6. There will never be a boycott of these Olympics so we have to get past that. We have to look at this as an opportunity to educate and promote what exactly "gay" is. Luckily most of the winter Olympic "power teams" tend to be some of the more gay friendly countries. US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, etc. Virtually none of the African or Middle Eastern countries who have abominable human rights records stand any chance of making the podium. And the Asian teams are pretty neutral as far as Russia is concerned. We need to get participants and spectators from the more gay friendly countries to really push the limits. That will be a big education project because frankly, not much is known about this outside the gay community. But there's still plenty of time. We need to send off those "Legalize Gay" t-shirts (in Russian and English) to as many participants as possible - just a start.

    Posted by: Craig | Jul 27, 2013 12:47:11 AM

  7. The "highest levels of government" can promise not to harass, intimidate or otherwise interfere with LGBT athletes and visitors to the games--officially, But much of what I read says that the actual hands-on dirty work is done by skinhead ultranationalist thugs, and other goons supported by the Russian Orthodox Church. Sometimes the gangs attacking LGBY folks include actual priests or seminarians.

    Posted by: gregorybrown | Jul 27, 2013 8:22:45 AM

  8. Though I might agree that a USA boycott would not necessarily make a big impression, one involving more nations would be more effective. The leaders of Russia need to work to change the bigotry. The Church and State in Russia are returning to the middle ages, thereby, joining the regimes of Saudi Arabia, et al.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 27, 2013 8:41:23 AM

  9. Please say NO to Russia like and share our page:

    Posted by: Gay Buenos Aires | Jul 27, 2013 9:48:50 AM

  10. The corporate sponsorships have already been made. American and European companies are already gearing up their marketing and product tie ins for the Olympics. Boycott the American and European companies who are investing in the Olympics, who have purchased sponsorships.

    If these companies start to feel or even suspect some profit loss as a result of supporting the Russian Olympics they will apply so much pressure to the IOC to move the games your heads will spin.

    Posted by: MikeBles | Jul 28, 2013 2:32:49 AM


    Go see the list of US Sponsors of the 2014 Olympics. These are the companies who are going to profit from the Olympics and who are going to be hurt by boycotts.

    Let them know what you think of their support of Russia's war on gay people.

    Posted by: MikeBles | Jul 28, 2013 2:41:37 AM

  12. Gotta love those gay comparisons to Jews and Nazis. Victimization is a free pass.

    Posted by: GEB | Jul 28, 2013 4:27:26 PM

  13. I don't care if some athletes "dreams are crushed" if teams were not to attend Olympics in Russia. I care about if they put their careers before the brotherhood/sisterhood of Civil Rights. Which do they value?

    Posted by: Carpool Cookie | Jul 31, 2013 4:42:23 PM

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