Jacques Rogge | News | Olympics | Russia | Sochi Olympics

President Jacques Rogge Says Olympic Committee Has No Power Over Russia and its Anti-Gay Laws

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said yesterday that the organization has no power of Russia when it comes to the anti-gay laws, the WaPo reports:

Rogge“We have received some oral and written assurances about the fact the Russian Federation will respect the Olympic charter and no negative effect will occur for people attending in or participating in the Games,” Rogge said. “But one should not forget that we are staging the games in a sovereign state, and the IOC cannot be expected to have an influence on the sovereign affairs of a country.”

Pressed on whether the IOC did not have “moral authority” to adopt a stronger stance, Rogge insisted the IOC could not, and should not, intervene.

“We have clearly on various occasions expressed our view on situations in countries,” Rogge said. “But we are restricted in our power and our action by the fact that we are the guest of a sovereign country where we hold the Games.”

Rogge also said the organization may oust Russian pole vault star Yelena Isinbayeva as an Olympic ambassador over her anti-gay remarks, the AP adds:

Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Isinbayeva spoke in defense of Russia's law against gay "propaganda" after winning the title at last month's world championships in Moscow.

Isinbayeva condemned homosexuality, saying Russians have "normal" heterosexual relations, and criticized two Swedish athletes who painted their fingernails in rainbow colors in support of gay rights. The next day, Isinbayeva said her comments in English may have been misunderstood and that she is against any discrimination.

Her initial comments appeared to go against the IOC ideals and the promotional role she has held since 2010 as an ambassador for the Youth Olympics. Isinbayeva is also the "mayor" of one of two Olympic villages in Sochi, an honorary but symbolic and visible role.

Said Rogge: "This is something we will consider in due time."

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  1. No surprise statement here from the IOC, the premiere (but evidently light-weight powerless fraidy-cat) international sports organization. The IOC just looks worse all the time when it comes to protecting (and protesting on behalf of) a segment of its athletes and their families, friends and supporters. So much for my support of the Sochi winter games.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Sep 6, 2013 11:40:07 AM

  2. He has nice teeth. Too bad all he can do is lie through them.

    Posted by: jomicur | Sep 6, 2013 11:47:18 AM

  3. Sure they do, he can say that while Russia has laws that discriminate against gays that the games won't be sanctioned by the IOC and they can't be called Olympic Games, I recall when the gay olympic games were told that they had to drop the olympic or they would be sued.

    Posted by: lk | Sep 6, 2013 11:57:16 AM

  4. The modern face of Corruption and Spinelessness.

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Sep 6, 2013 12:07:11 PM

  5. You mean if Jews were being openly attacked in the streets with no police intervention, laws restricting their adoption rights were enacted, and increasing laws restricted their behavior, the IOC would do nothing?

    This a cowardly and reprehensible statement. If this was a summer Olympics, I would give Rogge a gold for sprinting past the truth, vaulting over any moral responsibility, and relaying no strong statement of the fundamental values of the Olympics.

    Posted by: Gr8guyca | Sep 6, 2013 12:08:26 PM

  6. At least make a promise to only choose host countries where human rights are respected !

    Posted by: AndyTowlette | Sep 6, 2013 12:18:40 PM

  7. Actually, @GR8GUYCA, the IOC has a shameful history of doing nothing in that instance as well.

    Posted by: Don | Sep 6, 2013 12:27:23 PM

  8. The IOC is a throwback to a different time. It is simply no longer relevant. It is unwilling to change with the times. All it can do now is lie and run and hide. Disgusting.

    Posted by: Geoff | Sep 6, 2013 12:36:35 PM

  9. Olympics Inc., only understands one thing. CASH. Go after sponsors--if cash cows pressure IOC, everything changes. Its the only way. Forget dealing with IOC, pressure sponsors! HRC, put the squeeze on.

    Posted by: jim | Sep 6, 2013 1:12:11 PM

  10. Sure they have power. Threaten to pull or relocate the games due to Russia's anti-gay laws, and watch Russia lose their sh*t over the thought of losing out on all that sweet tourist, ad, and sponsor cash. Russia would come correct immediately.

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Sep 6, 2013 2:46:04 PM

  11. But you have the power to punish Russia for their crimes against humanity and human rights violations instead of rewarding them with financial explosion into their economy and complicity to the rape, torture, beating, imprisonment, silencing and murder of innocent human beings.

    IOC = International Oblivious Cowards

    Posted by: Sean | Sep 6, 2013 3:32:57 PM

  12. The IOC banned South Africa from competing in the Olympics from 1964 - 1991 over Apartheid.

    So the obvious solution is to ban Russia from competing in their own games.


    Posted by: Fox | Sep 6, 2013 3:47:13 PM

  13. IOC: We're only the most powerful organization in sport, but we just don't have any power to influence countries at all, and are entirely subject to their every whim.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 6, 2013 4:59:35 PM

  14. There's still time to sign the Change.org petition called "International Olympics Committee : Elect a New IOC President that Actively Condemns Russia's Anti-Gay Laws" at http://www.change.org/petitions/international-olympics-committee-elect-a-new-ioc-president-that-actively-condemns-russia-s-anti-gay-laws

    Posted by: Daniel McWarren | Sep 6, 2013 5:04:20 PM

  15. Throw a bucket of ice water on this subject. Even Obama can't get Russia to cooperate. Putin is the star of the G20.

    Posted by: Ben | Sep 6, 2013 5:40:19 PM

  16. I suppose the definition of "human rights" is so new.

    Posted by: Ben | Sep 6, 2013 6:46:23 PM

  17. Considering they got traffic and heavy industry halted in Beijing, I should think this was easier to pull off.

    Posted by: anon | Sep 6, 2013 7:03:32 PM

  18. Rogge is simply lying, of course they have enormous influence. But Russia was his choice and Putin has made Rogge even richer. Trust me.

    Plus, don't forget that Rogge is at heart a Nazi sympathizer, and has been since his youthful days in Nazi occupied Belgium.

    He is playing everyone as fools. Because he is truly that arrogant. Believe me, because I have been in his presence many times.

    Posted by: UrbanMike | Sep 6, 2013 7:20:17 PM

  19. What a spinelesss SOB!

    Posted by: chadSF | Sep 6, 2013 9:29:26 PM

  20. @Urbanmike: The comment that "Rogge is at heart a Nazi sympathizer, and has been since his youthful days in Nazi occupied Belgium," is rather hard to believe given that he was born on May 2, 1942. Belgium was liberated from the Nazis in late 1944,
    so he was 2 years old at the time.

    I really don't think a child only two years old is capable of being a "Nazi sympathizer". To be blunt, just because you don't like the guy is no excuse for printing lies about him.

    Posted by: Bill | Sep 7, 2013 12:59:01 AM

  21. "IOC = International Oblivious Cowards" It's time to get rid of all Russians and stupid IOC. The next country if not return from Russia in the Winter Olympic will be in charge for the human rights horrible LAW HATE.

    Posted by: FunMe | Sep 7, 2013 2:39:04 AM

  22. Once again, I say to the world: Watch the games on TV, do not go to Russia and spend your dollars to support these neanderthals!

    Posted by: billmiller | Sep 7, 2013 8:00:52 AM

  23. All these 'respected' international organizations like IOCC are fronts for powerful elite $ interests. And they're stacked with elite insiders. Do you actually expect them to do or say the right thing?

    *The banality of evil.

    *Hannah Arendt

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 7, 2013 8:32:58 AM

  24. Rogge; Your are an embarrassment to humanity.

    Posted by: David | Sep 7, 2013 1:14:14 PM

  25. In 6 months the Olympics (and this debate) will be over and the anti-gay laws will still be on the books. While I understand the PR value of the Stoli boycott, it really does nothing to actually hurt Russia. The Russian economy is fueled (literally) by oil exports. If you want to impact Russia, dump your Range Rover, BMW, F150 or other guzzler and get yourself a Prius, Volt, Tesla or other efficient car that floats your boat. The amount of money gays spend on foreign vodka is a drop in the bucket compared to what we spend on imported oil.

    Posted by: PeteP | Sep 7, 2013 1:58:35 PM

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