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NYTimes: IOC May Do Russia’s Bidding

Jim Burroway

August 7th, 2013

There have been conflicting reports over whether LGBT athletes, officials, and spectators would face harassment or prosecution under Russia’s anti-gay laws by police during the winter games in Sochi. The New York Times reports however that it is the International Olympic Committee which may step in and squelch expressions of support for Russia’s LGBT citizens:

Just as Russia now prohibits “propaganda” in support of “nontraditional” sexual orientation, the Olympic charter prohibits athletes from making political gestures during the Winter and Summer Games.

So it is entirely possible that any bobsledder or skier wearing a pin, patch or T-shirt in support of gay rights could be sent home from Sochi, not by Russian authorities, but by another group that suppresses expression: the International Olympic Committee.

Would the I.O.C. inflict such a public-relations disaster on itself? Perhaps not. But Olympic officials worldwide, including those in the United States, along with NBC and corporate sponsors, have put themselves and athletes in an awkward position by only tepidly opposing the Russian law that bans “homosexual propaganda.”

The Times adds that the US Olympic Committee has been similarly tepid, saying, “While we strongly support equal rights for all, our mission is sustained competitive excellence” and not political advocacy. The Times traces the US committee’s timidity to internal IOC politics as another vote to replace IOC president Jacques Rogge is set to take place next month.

Comments

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Eddie Moris
August 7th, 2013 | LINK

If a woman kisses her husband after receiving a gold medal would that be a political statement? Then why would it be a political statement if a woman kisses her wife?

Nathaniel
August 7th, 2013 | LINK

Because, Eddie, Russian law has declared it so.

Eddie Moris
August 7th, 2013 | LINK

Yes that may be so and they didn’t even have to use the word abbarracadabbarra. But my response was in regards to the IOC. They sound like they are on the side of the Russians making the athletes play more like robots than like individual people.

Timothy (TRiG)
August 7th, 2013 | LINK

Would the I.O.C. inflict such a public-relations disaster on itself?

Very probably, yes, they would. The IOC don’t exactly have a good reputation for this sort of thing.

TRiG.

Gene in L.A.
August 7th, 2013 | LINK

They “don’t exactly have a good reputation for this sort of thing” Timothy? The lawsuit brought and won by the USIOC itself is in fact the only reason our quadrennial meets have not been called the Gay Olympics. I call that exactly a bad reputation.

Joseph Singer
August 8th, 2013 | LINK

The IOC does not give a crap about anything other than itself. As long as the IOC continues to enrich itself it doesn’t give a shit about anything else. This is the same IOC that wouldn’t even allow a minute of silence in memory of the athletes who were murdered in the 1972 Olympics.

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