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."