Russian Olympics Chief and IOC President Clash on Athlete Political ‘Free Speech’ Rules

Dmitry_ChernyshenkoDmitry Chernyshenko, the Russian head of the Sochi Games said today that Olympic athletes should not be allowed to express their political views during news conferences at the games, a position that puts him at odds with IOC President Thomas Bach, Radio Free Europe reports:

Bach said on January 27 that the Olympics "cannot be used as a stage for political demonstrations," but that "athletes enjoy the freedom of speech so if in a press conference they wanted to make a political statement, then they are absolutely free to do so."

Chernyshenko said that athletes could make political statements elsewhere, but not in the Olympic perimeter.


  1. JackFknTwist says

    Dear Dmitry,
    There will be many speeches/demonstrations/protests about Free Speech, gay rights/ human rights/ oppressive laws/ extremist fascists….in Russia.
    No, such expressions will not be confined to “Press Conferences” as you desire….they will be out there in public, loud and proud for all to see.
    So you and your goons can arrest hundreds of protesters, including athletes.
    Bring on the rainbow flags, equal rights signs, the right to marry signs.
    Your job, Dmitry, is to make sure that your Right Wing Extremists and Religious thugs are kept away from all athletes and visitors.
    Your duty is to ensure security for all persons who come to the games.
    Sochi will disgrace itself with repression – through state sponsored violence or the thugs of Fascist Putin. I believe we are watching a train wreck…..manipulated by the fascists.
    Signed :
    The West.

  2. northalabama says

    please, please, arrest billie jean king for responding to a question about gay rights when she’s in russia…please!

    no, i don’t want any harm to come to bjk, but the resulting press coverage and damage to russia politically would be incredible.

  3. alex says

    @NorthAlabama: Exactly. A boycott of Sochi would generate a little press. But, it will be forgotten in the future. Ask an average person the reason why we boycotted in 1980 and to see what I mean.

    All we need is one LGB athlete or ally to get hassled by Putin and the world will hear the story.

    Jesse Owens had a larger historical impact than the boycotts of 1980 or 1984.

  4. Gregory in Seattle says

    Of course, if they make political statements *outside* the Olympic perimeter, they will be subject to Russian law and Russian restrictions on free speech, and will be subject to arrest and imprisonment. Which, presumably, is what Chernyshenko masturbates to every day.

  5. andrew says

    With Chechnya and Dagestan only hundreds of miles from Sochi, the Russian authorities have got more to worry about than some LGBT folks and their friends making pro LGBT statements or waving Rainbow Flags. The likelihood that terrorists are going to strike seems pretty high.

  6. emjayay says

    I’m pretty sure Billie Jean would be quite happy to be arrested and be on world wide news supporting gay rights. Yes, something like that would be great. Let’s hope they overstep somehow like that.

  7. MaryM says

    So Sochi is happening.

    What’s the plan for the World Cup in fascist Russia in 2018.

    There is LOADS of time for FIFA to relocate that.

    The action on relocating the World Cup 2018 needs to happen now as if we leave it too long FIFA will say there is no time.

    Brazil already has the facilities for this year’s World Cup. We need confirmation from FIFA that the 2018 World Cup will remain there.

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