12 August 2013, 19:53

Russian Olympic Committee not to allow discrimination at Sochi Olympics

Глава Олимпийского комитета России Александр Жуков

Alexandr Zhukov

Alexandr Zhukov

There will not be any kind of discrimination at the Sochi Winter Olympics, so homosexuals shouldn’t have concerns over their safety, Alexandr Zhukov, head of the Russian Olympic Committee stated. 

"If gay people don’t impose their views on children, sanctions can’t be taken against them," he added.

“The Russian Olympic Committee, Russian government and Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee guarantee there will be no discrimination of sportsmen, officials, supporters and journalists on race, religion, gender, political views, etc. what corresponds with the policy of the Olympic movement,” Zhukov said to journalists.

“I would like to underline that the law which has been passed is applied only against propaganda of homosexual relations among minors. If a person doesn’t try to impose his or her views in presence of children, sanctions can’t be taken against this person. Gay people can take part freely in the competitions and other Olympic events and don’t worry for their safety,” Zhukov underscored.

Hurdles champion Ed Moses slams calls for Sochi boycott

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses on Monday slammed calls for the United States to boycott an Olympic Games in Russia for a second time.

"There won't be a boycott because there isn't any socialism happening here in Russia," said Moses, who joins the growing ranks of those rejecting a boycott of the Sochi 2014 Olympics in protest of Russia's laws against gay propaganda.

"There have been politicians in the United States that at the end of the day made fools of themselves even talking about it. There is no way the United States will boycott, because it would be really stupid."

He dismissed the proposed boycott by gay rights activists, celebrities and some politicians as a temporarily hot issue that will likely disappear in a few weeks.

Moses's comments came on the sidelines of the world athletics championships, which are running at Moscow's Luzhniki's stadium this week.

Moses was the defending Olympic champion in the 400m hurdles when the U.S. imposed an Olympic boycott on the 1980 Games here in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Moses, now 57, lamented the missed opportunity to win another Olympic gold, stating he "was in best shape of his life."

But there was a silver lining, he said, as the boycott pushed track and field athletes to turn professional and seek private funding.

"The fact that we didn't come to Moscow was a big incentive to legalize athletes to be able to take money from trust funds and all that," Moses said.

"So that was something good that came out of it."

Last week, IAAF vice-president Seb Coe also spoke against of the boycott in the wake of appeal made by British TV star Stephen Fry to Prime Minister David Cameron to lead an "absolute ban" on the Games, comparing the move the Hitler's persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Cameron noted he is "deeply concerned" about the "abuse of gay people in Russia" but insisted a boycott the event is the wrong way to tackle the issue.

US President Barack Obama has also spoken out against the idea of an Olympic boycott.

In June, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning the promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations" toward minors.

Violators face fines of up to $30,000 and foreigners face deportation.

There has been confusion over how strictly Russia will enforce the law during the February 7-21 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee has requested clarification after assurances from Olympics supervisor Dmitry Kozak that athletes and visitors won't be affected were brought into question by Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

Hysteria about law against gay propaganda starting to annoy – Russian LGTB member

Some Russian gay-activists keep their eyes open on the recent Russian law banning "gay propaganda", and voice out the ideas that other LGTB-community members should listen to international ministers and famous sportsmen calling not to boycott the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014. The widely discussed law is not against gay-activists or their rights but against gay-propaganda among children which can harm child’s immature psychology.

"Nobody forbids to be gay or to have sex, to live with a partner and to be gay. All this hysteria is starting to annoy. Activists who are unable to explain what ideals they are fighting for, cannot understand that the rights of sexual minorities are inseparable from the rights of any other person, and that they will not get any preferences bypassing the rights of others. They will fail to boycott the Olympics, as the Games will be interesting to the majority of people and it will be one of the most spectacular games," says LGTM-member with a nickname "Russky Paren" (which is "Russian Man" in English).

Johnny Weir, a gay professional figure skater from the US, says that he is not going to boycott the Olympic Games in Sochi and asks others to follow his example. Other gay sportsmen, including tennis player Martina Navratilova, American Olympic diver Greg Louganis, Australian diver and Olympic gold-medalist Matthew Mitcham share the Weir’s appeal not to boycott the Games.

"The best thing we can do is to come to Russia and to support our friends, to show that we are not afraid of the new laws," Jonny Weir said. "Russians love figure skating, I have a lot of fans here, and all of them know that I am gay. My marriage to a Russian-American partner was widely covered by the Russian media. Of course, there were a lot of jokes, but still most of the journalists were on my side. I am an openly-gay sportsman, and I openly love Russia, and I think that my visit to Russia will be an important statement, even if I do not participate in competitions in Sochi," Weir said.

"I am always on the Russian side," Weir added, speaking about the US calls to boycott the Games. "I want to convince people in America not to boycott Russia, because the boycott will harm the people."

Juan Antonio Samaranch Salisachs, member of the International Olympic Committee, believes that the Olympic Games in Sochi are not facing a boycott, and all attempts to play on Russian law banning gay propaganda are just political intrigue.

"I am sure that Sochi is not threatened. There will be no boycott. All attempts to play on Russian law banning gay propaganda are just political intrigues. Nobody will persecute innocent athletes who are preparing for the performance at the Olympics. All politicians and all government officials understand this," he said.

Openly gay German politician, Guido Westerwelle, minister of foreign affairs, speaking about the possible boycott of Olympics said, that "the Olympic boycott as misguided. It is doing more harm than good to the legitimate right of this minority to be protected."

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who is responsible for planning the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, noted that the law banning gay propaganda among children and adolescents has no relation to the prosecution of individuals with different sexual orientations, the law only prescribes not to advocate such relations among minors.

"There is no infringement of individuals’ [rights] based on their sexual orientation, neither at the Olympics or up until the Olympics, and there will not be after. This legislation does not provide for it," Kozak said.

The same opinion is shared by the State Duma deputy and a former boxer Nikolai Valuev. "I don’t understand, what exactly do they want? No one prohibits them to live and do what they want. There is no criminal article of law for homosexuality, as in was in the Soviet Union. And the current law is directed primarily to the fact that no one has publicly show off his or her sexual preference," Valuev said.

This is what the Russian LGTB-community activist is trying to explain in the Internet to other members of the same-sex community. "Some overpoliticized comrades are trying to knit in the IOC into politics," the user "Russky Paren" believes. "But there is the same amount of stupid and herd members as among heterosexuals."

He also believes that there are enough gay people who bully gay people, and that those who are fighting for the gay people's rights often forget about other communities that live in Russia, such as the Caucasians, the Chechens, the Muslims, the Asians and others.

Voice of Russia, RIA, R-Sport

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