Looking Out: Olympic committee says Russia's anti-gay law won't affect Games

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  • In response to calls for a boycott of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics due to Russia's anti-gay legislation, the International Olympics Committee released a statement promising to "work to ensure" a discrimination-free Olympics.
In response to calls for a boycott of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics… (LEON NEAL / AFP/Getty Images )
July 18, 2013|By Michael Gold | The Baltimore Sun

After mounting concern about how Russia's anti-gay law would affect athletes headed to next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, the International Olympic Committee has finally released a statement saying it will "work to ensure" no discrimination against LGBT participants.

"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," the statement reads. The organization also says it will make sure "the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media."

Several LGBT advocacy groups called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics following last month's passage of a Russian law that bans "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." Activists have raised concerns that the law's vague language gives Russian authorities plenty of leeway in determining just what "propaganda" means, with some worried that public declarations of same-sex love could result in fines or jail times.

Out athletes have reason to be concerned too: Foreigners can be fined, detained and deported for violating the law (though Tilda Swinton did so earlier this month with no reported consequence). Which means the IOC has a lot of work to do. Because let's face it: What would the Winter Olympics do without people like Johnny Weir?

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