Senior IOC Member: ‘It’s Absurd’ for the U.S. to Send ‘Four Lesbians’ in Sochi Delegation

Mario Pescante, a senior Italian IOC member, blasted the U.S. for sending gay people in its delegation to the Sochi Olympic Games, the AP reports:

Pescante''It's absurd that a country like that sends four lesbians to Russia just to demonstrate that in their country gay rights have (been established),'' Mario Pescante said at an Italian Olympic Committee meeting in Milan on Wednesday, in comments widely reported by Italian media. ''The games should not be an occasion and a stage to promote rights that sports supports daily.''

Pescante later clarified his remarks, saying he's not homophobic:

''Of course not…I just wanted to make the point not to let politics interfere with the Olympics.''

At last count there were two out lesbians and a gay man included in the delegation.

Obama announced last month that gay athletes Billie Jean King, Brian Boitano and Caitlin Cahow would be in the official delegation to Sochi and he wouldn't be attending.

King spoke with Stephen Colbert about her role in the delegation, saying she did not plan to protest but would answer questions if asked, and when warned she might go to jail for it, said, "I'll take that chance."


  1. richard says

    Well, the point is that the Olympics is all about politics. Why else would the athletes go by their country? Once you call yourselves Italians or Americans or Vietnamese, it’s politics.

  2. walter says

    screw him dumb bigot by choosing sochi the olympic committee made the event about gay rights . maybe the olympics need to look at more than money when picking a site for the games.

  3. woodroad34 says

    Given his statement that it was inappropriate to send anyone gay in the American delegation, I’m assuming he’s a conservative, catholic person who probably voted for Berlusconi–so I’m crying “hypocritical homophobe” on this fool when he claims he isn’t homophobic. Especially if “sports supports (gays) daily”, then what’s the problem? The Olympics is a sporting venue, after all.

  4. Jerry says

    Just another sleaze-bag homophobe & third-rate mini-Berlusconi pol, daring to call down the US for questioning the corrupt politics of another third-rate country, and the failure of the IOC to enforce its charter and live up to its ideals. MASSIVE FAIL!
    S T F U Pescante.

  5. Derrick Jamal d'Enchantra says

    The IOC is a notoriously corrupt and bigoted institution, with a history of pro-dictator, pro-colonialism, coupled with misogynistic, anti-Semitic, anti-people of color, anti-equality, anti-gay actions.

    Pescante is just another greasy-bohunked Mafia tool. Eff him. Dry.

  6. Graphicjack says

    To try to claim the Olympics is not political is absurd. And to denounce a country that is standing up for human rights, something the IOC claims to be in support of, is asinine. It just seems that the more we here about this, the worse the IOC comes out. If they don’t want to support human rights, then take it out of your charter. Otherwise, uphold your own rules, IOC.

  7. Mike says

    They IOC should be careful not to bite the hand that feeds it. Where would this little puffed up prick and his games be if there wasn’t billions in American sponsorship dollars? Maybe he could get Barilla to pick up the slack.

  8. UrbanMike says

    I met many of the members of the IOC as part of the leadership of an American candidate City. IOC membership bestows great privilege and power. While some are humbled by that, many are evilly corrupted by it. Putin has made significant investments. He will lean on his investments as necessary.

  9. UrbanMike says

    I met many of the members of the IOC as part of the leadership of an American candidate City. IOC membership bestows great privilege and power. While some are humbled by that, many are evilly corrupted by it. Putin has made significant investments. He will lean on his investments as necessary.

  10. Robert says

    Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize weren’t supposed to kiss you on the mouth. Is that extra? I thought that was included with the price of admission. Jeeze, I didn’t realize you prostitutes were so opinionated.

    This entire event is a travesty of corporate mediawhoredom. The original Olympics was to prevent warring and to settle disputes. It was all about politics. He probably tapped a tip box next to his microphone stand after each line.

  11. FFS says

    Boundary disputes and trade embargoes are the sort of politics that should be set aside in the spirit of the Olympics.

    Human rights abuses aren’t “politics.” They’re a travesty entirely beyond the pale.

  12. Randy says

    Thank you, Mario, for re-confirming my decision to have nothing to do with the Olympics or its sponsors and advertisers.

    It has actually saved me quite a bit of money so far.

  13. Bill says

    OK – it is absurd to send 4, maybe because it is an unlucky number in Chinese. So let’s pick a lucky number and send 8.

    (As a linguistic note, 4 is unlucky in Chinese because the word for four and the word for ‘dead’ are both “si” but with different tones. “Si” is pronounced roughly as an ‘s’ followed by an ‘r’ sound in Mandarin. By contrast, 8 is lucky because the word for 8 sounds a bit like the Cantonese word for prosperity.)

  14. Alexander says

    Politics is the art of acquiring power. When someone says they don’t want something to be politicized, it usually is because they have the power in the situation, and are uncomfortable with that power being challenged in the situation. Every Olympics is political; it is about nationalism and the ability of powerful states to marshal resources to show off for the world. When groups without power rally to demand acknowledgement in those spaces, people start crying about politics and try to shut them down.

  15. jjose712 says

    Too late for politics not being part of the games.
    If IOC chose countries that respect the human rights they could avoid this kind of publicity. Of course they care money a lot more than human rights or sports

  16. Jack M says

    Uh, I think politics has always been a part of the Olympics. Remember the boycott during WWII? Seems like Mario doesn’t know his history all that well.

  17. ThomT says

    Pescante’s statement is both dishonest and disingenuous. The Olympics have always been, and will always be, about politics if nothing more than the politics of oneupmanship. Regardless, it’s not as if the USA just randomly picked some gay people off the street to send to the Olympics those chosen to represent the USA were deserving of their selection because of their own past athletic performances. A whole bunch of nothing from an Italian IOC member looking for some face time.

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