IOC Will "Work To Ensure" That LGBT Athletes Aren't Arrested At Sochi Olympic Winter Games In Russia
The International Olympic Committee has released a statement promising the organization will "work to ensure" that international LGBT athletes descending upon anti-gay Russia during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games won't be subjected to the nation's vehemently bigoted ban on being gay in public.
The Windy City Times, which obtained the statement, reports:
The IOC said that it will "work to ensure" that the Sochi Games take place without discrimination against LGBT participants. But the statement from the Lausanne, Switzerland-based organization was short on specifics, only reiterating support for LGBT athletes and opposing any discrimination against them.
"The International Olympic Committee is clear that sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation," said the statement. "The Games themselves should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media and of course athletes. We would oppose in the strongest terms any move that would jeopardise this principle.
"As you know, this legislation has just been passed into law and it remains to seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the Games in Sochi. 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. Wider political issues in the country are best dealt with by other international organizations more suited to this endeavor."
Still, the call for a boycott of the Sochi games continues to gains momentum.
Gay rights activists from Russia and the former Soviet republics living in the U.S. are trying to convince athletes and spectators not to go to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
The group is calling for a boycott of the games, saying the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is not safe in Russia — and they hope even those who are not gay will support the ban.
"LGBT people in Russia are scared, they live in fear, and we want people to be aware of the issue. If they feel strongly about human rights, they should boycott the Olympics in Sochi," said Nina Long, co-president of the Russian-speaking RUSA LGBT organization based in New York.
"We really want the LGBT community to know it's unsafe to travel there," she said in an interview with RIA-Novosti.