Olympic Committee Confirms It Will Punish Athletes Who Support LGBT Rights In Russia
The International Olympic Committee has confirmed a fear that has overcome the LGBT and sports communities this month: a provision in the IOC charter that calls for the punishment of athletes who make political or religious displays will be enforced during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
When asked if the IOC planned to create a "safe space" of sorts for LGBT and allied athletes, journalists, contractors and other foreigners visiting Russia for the Olympics, officials told Gay Star News, "Regarding your suggestions, the IOC has a clear rule laid out in the Olympic Charter (Rule 50) which states that the venues of the Olympic Games are not a place for proactive political or religious demonstration."
While we're on the subject of rule 50 in the Olympic Charter (which states "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas"), the IOC has confirmed that it will indeed enforce it against displays of support for the LGBT community at the games in Sochi.
"This rule has been in place for many years and applied when necessary," the IOC told GSN. "In any case, the IOC would treat each case individually and take a sensible approach depending on what was said or done."
Gay Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup has already pledged, along with other athletes, to show Pride during the Opening Ceremonies by wearing a rainbow pin, a display that now may have him in trouble with Russian authorities and the Olympic Committee.